The time for graduating had come and gone. I was shipped out a short 3 weeks later.
The moment of swear-in was of great significance and impact. I don’t remember much, but I do remember these lines:
“I, Kevin Charles Wagenseller, do solemnly swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America from all threats, foreign and domestic.”
This is an oath I was serious about, and I haven’t stopped simply because I have been discharged. The Constitution and upholding and defending it from all threats…foreign AND domestic…this is something that remains close to my heart, and consumes my soul.
You see, the War on Terror was of great concern to me. If there was anything I could do to stop the terrorists from destroying more lives, then I was going to do it. I was a 15-year-old sophomore in high school when 9/11 happened, and it wasn’t until I was 22 and out of the Navy that I found out that the real terrorists were sitting in the “Executive Mansion,” as it was once called.
So, I find out the first war I train and fight in is a sham and use of power demonstrated by the ruling elite to gain banking, gold, and oil interests in the Middle East. It was never about people’s safety.
Now, I find myself entangled in a second war. The War on Drugs. The truth, I have been in this war for many years, but I did not see it as a war until the last two or three years, the seriousness of it escalating with each passing year.
There is a huge burden on my shoulders.
It’s like I can feel the pain of all the dying soldiers suffering from PTSD, chronic pain, or other serious disorders.
I feel for all the cops that are “just doing their jobs,” some in ignorance, and some in the “know.” Either way, they are in a tough spot, and they shouldn’t have to be.
Pain consumes me watching my minority friends get hauled off to jail over and over again for petty, victim-less crimes. Sure, I am thankful that I am ________ enough not to have much difficulty with law enforcement, but I couldn’t imagine feeling so oppressed that I would be driven to join a gang just for protection from racist and abusive law enforcement. This is a problem, and it needs to be addressed.
On top of it all, I am losing my wife, dogs, and home to this war, and I feel powerless to stop it. After 30 years, a car accident, two wars, and a troubled marriage later, I find myself having to accept that sometimes we are dealt bad hands, and we just have to play them.
I take hope that eventually this turn will pass, the deck will be shuffled, and I get another chance.
Life can be like that, if we let it.
Wagen, over and out.