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With that said, I’ve noticed sort of an unwritten rule, which dictates only veterans may criticize, jokingly or otherwise, other branches of service. When a civilian, never having been in any uniform at all, chimes in and decides to take part in such jabs, the civilian typically faces an unrelenting tide of verbal assaults.

For example, I recently shared the picture I shared in this post on Facebook. Now, to be clear, USAF PJs are some of the best damn special forces operators you will ever meet, most people have the idea in their heads that the Air Force has no such field…

One of my civilian friends chimed in "We all know these guys are just finding a place to set the tee." Yikes! I responded, jokingly, "Oh, funny! Wait, remind me, which branch did you serve in?" That opened the flood gates, because I have a LOT of veteran friends… My buddy was hammered, and I couldn’t help him. Although, at one point, I did chime in and say he’s a good guy, and I was just busting his balls… The pain was on, and it’s still going.

Just for context: No one is really serious, and most of the veterans commenting know the guy, so it’s all in good fun. But I was just curious, have any of you ever had a similar experience, and is this actually an unwritten rule everywhere, or did I just feed my friend to the wolves for no good reason?

Should we bring back the Pledge of Allegiance? I remember as I went through Grade School we use to say this every morning and it gave me a sense of pride and purpose each day! Are the youth of today missing this and will they every understand what it truly means?

On January 14, 1969, Red Skelton touched the hearts of millions of Americans with his "Pledge Of Allegiance", in which he explained the meaning of each and every word. Red Skelton’s recitation of the "Pledge of Allegiance" was twice read into the Congressional Record of the United States and received numerous awards.

RED SKELTON: "I remember this one teacher. To me, he was the greatest teacher, a real sage of my time. He had such wisdom. We were all reciting the Pledge Of Allegiance and he walked over. Mr. Lasswell was his name… He said": "I’ve been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge Of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word:

Individual communities that have united into forty-eight great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that is love for country.

I don’t believe there is a new or unique role for Veterans within this federal-level debate over guns in the United States. And, in any case, the federal debate is not where any meaningful solutions or insights will be realized or achieved in the near term.

When I, as a parent, think about about all we do for our children — teaching them, taking them to their next practice or game, walking them to the bus stop or school, thinking of that very special Christmas present or birthday surprise, the hug, the kiss, and even the times we have to scold or punish them so that they can learn and grow — it becomes crystal clear, not to mention deeply relevant for the “gun debate,” just how much we pour our heart and soul into our kids. For, they are our future. And then to have them taken from us — in an instant — through events like Parkland or Santa Fe…there are no words. None at all.

Veterans seem to generally reflect our country’s divisions on guns — consistent with the current political paradigm — with Republicans, on the one hand, justly overlaying the Constitutional argument and emphasizing the Bill of Rights protections; and Democrats, on the other side, appropriately highlighting safety and security concerns and asking what role guns within these tragic events.

It is within this fraught political context that the National Rifle Association — known for its unflinching support for gun ownership — has turned the Democratic argument on its head. The NRA agrees there is a safety and security problem and argues that the solution is more guns and more people trained to use guns — not fewer.

Democrats have similarly taken the other side’s argument and turned it on its head — acknowledging the universality of the Constitutional protections for gun ownership, yet arguing that such protections must comport with a 21st century context.

In short, the two major sides of the federal debate are dug in and using the other side’s arguments to justify their own objectives — a debate that is also sufficiently esoteric, deeply philosophical, and, therefore, disconnected from the realities on the ground.

While individual gun owners — Veterans and non-Veterans — would have to opt-in to these Veteran-run gun clubs, such clubs could ultimately test any future gun regulation and serve as consensus-building mechanisms for any future regulations on guns in the United States.