This particular salute is to the U.S. Navy. Not for any specific military action, but for what it has done for my little brother.
B.G. has always a smart and talented kid, but in his teenage years he was a real handful. The plain truth is that he was a real jerk, and I seriously worried about his future. He stayed out when he wasn’t supposed to, disappearing for hours then waltzing back into the house as if nothing was wrong. He was openly rude and defiant, and avoided family gatherings whenever possible. He wrecked 6 cars (not all of them his) and didn’t seem to care very much about his actions. He had lots of potential and great ideas but no real direction.
And then he joined the Navy. I don’t know what internal decision process led to that choice but so far it seems to have been one of the best things he’s done with his life. He’s now in his mid-20’s and doing very well. It hasn’t been a perfect ride, but he’s close to getting his first promotion, and has been talking about getting his degree. He has also met (and married) a great girl (also in the Navy), and they’re expecting their first child (a girl). I am very happy for him and extremely proud of the man he is becoming.
So, to the U.S. Navy I say thank you. And to B.G. I say keep up the good work, little brother…