The SL Enquirer had the opportunity to meet a few Vets on November 10th at the US Marine Corps 238th Birthday Ball and Toby Keith Tribute Concert at Veteran’s Isle in Second Life.
The Dog aka Dogmi Lord, Zakk Sommerfleck, Johnathan Hiess, Dr. Endora McAndrews and Izzy Harcassle were kind enough to talk to SLE and answer some questions about what Veteran’s Day means to them and what advice they would give those thinking about serving in the military.
Dogmi told SLE that Veteran’s Day is “a day to remember all that have served in the armed forces; young or old ”. Dogmi also went on to say “: there are a lot of vets that need help and this should be the day we all go out and help them”
SLE asked when Dogmi served the country and he said, he didn’t like to talk about it because he feels he could have done more.
SLE understands it can be a sensitive day for some veterans but what they have done to serve this country is worth recognition, no matter how big or small they feel their impact was. Dogmi is a part of the strength in this nation like so many others.
Zakk Sommerfleck is another veteran SLE came across. He is a Marine. When asked what Veteran’s Day means to him, Zakk summed it up in one sentence. “It means that on this day we honor those that have fought for your freedoms”.
SLE was curious to know what Zakk’s most memorable moment was serving this country and he had this to say, “the day I enlisted. Everything after that was just doing my job.” Zakk also shared that it was more than he expected it to be and got to see six continents.
Zakk’s take on the war against Terrorism is that it is a never ending battle but what he likes most about America and its freedom and democracy is the Constitution because that was what he swore to defend.
The message Zakk has for young people considering going into military service is both blunt and insightful. “Don’t retire. The civilian world sucks.” “ Seriously though, take your experience in the service with you everywhere you go.”
Zakk was straight to the point but showed his patriotism for this country.
Johnathan Hiess was another vet that was enjoying festivities at Veteran’s Isle on Sunday Novemebr 10th. He is a 13 year veteran of the Marine Corp and when he was asked what veteran’s Day meant to him, he had a lot to say.
“No, I’d rather tell you what it doesn’t mean to me. It means I and those like me DIDNT wait to do what’s right. When our country needed us, we didn’t say no or hide behind others. We didn’t look for the easy way out. Yes we lost a few on our commitment, but we still saw it through. That is what veterans are to me and others like me. It’s not about what it means to us. It is about what we left behind so those that never served will see what we did for them.”
Johnathan’s advice to young men and women that are thinking about enlisting is simple.
“Dont play those damn XBOX and Play station games and think you want to BE a MARINE. I would rather you go in never having touched those things and learn what it means to be a MARINE rather than in a game where you can start over with a reset or memory card. There is no reset or memory card to save your place [in the real world].”
The traits needed to serve our country in his opinion are, “just keep your mouth shut, do what you are told and listen to the senior marine with experience who is leading you. Men don’t follow titles, they follow courage.”
Johnathan also provided an example of how veterans look out for each other even in Second Life. “Right now here in the dance area I saw a marine in need of Dress blues, so I gave him my extra set. Why? Because he is a marine and that means you take care of your own”, Johnathan said.
Dr. Endora McAndrews is a 24 year veterans of the Air Force and in the medical field. She provides support to vets in Second Life as well as in real life. Dr. Endora helps with resources and giving some directions to those in transition from deployment to leaving the service as well as providing support to families. When asked what Veteran’s Day means to her, she said, “it makes me proud and blessed as I was born this day and served a long career in the military”.
Her advice to anyone contemplating military service is, “listen to your heart. Be sure it is what you want and your heart won’t lie to you”. She went on to say, “so many people enlist thinking it will solve their problems.”
Her motivation to enlist was the pride she felt every time she heard the national anthem. She also comes from a long line of military family members. Being the only girl did not discourage her to be part of the family tradition.
SLE asked Dr. Engora what people can do to help vets and improve conditions at Veteran Hospitals and she said people can volunteer. “The staff does their best but it is the emotional support that falls short. Make friends with a vet”, Dr. Engora added.
Izzy Harcassle enrolled fresh out of high school in 2004 and was in the Navy on active duty for four years and reenlisted in the reserves for another four years. He was inspired after September 11th.
When asked what Veteran’s Day means to him, Izzy said, “ Honestly I believe it's a day where veterans from every era can be remembered. Let's face it, some vets have it rough when they get back and sometimes I think people tend to take them for granted. I think Veteran's Day is a day where their sacrifice can truly be appreciated.”
Izzy’s advice to young people considering serving in the military is, “Give it your all. Remember that it's something you volunteer for. It can be a very valuable experience if you give it a chance to be more than a job or duty to your country” He continues by saying, “Appreciate it, because I promise, you'll miss it when your service is up.”
Izzy is also involved in a new military Role play in Second Life and is virtually enlisted in the USS Nimitz Carrier Air Group. It is a large Navy Base sim based in the Blake Sea where he is a pilot in a squadron there. They are currently recruiting and offering training. He was recently promoted to Lieutenant.
USS Nimitz Carrier Blake Sea Rez Zone
As you go about your daily lives after Veteran’s Day, take time to reflect on what it means to have freedom and to be an American. Show your appreciation to the brave men and women that have served our country and those that are still fighting every day.