During the years of the Vietnam War there was a report that few NFL players responded to the mandatory military draft. One of many things that Al Davis did was selected a man who served in the military and who became an outstanding Oakland Raider. Davis, too, was a former military man.
Other articles and books indicated that the low response level and forms of favoritism inspired a congressional investigation back in those days. Few professional football players served in the military during those years, according to some documents.
As a B/R writer, I have recently developed an interest in the issue of NFL players in the military between 1960-1970.
One issue related to the NFL players presence in the U. S. military is "Are all who served in the U. S. military and successfully completed their duty mentioned in the Hall of Fame display or recognized in the media? Should all of them be mentioned or should only the ones who died be mentioned?"
The basis for the concern is that in America we have both Veteran's Day, and Memorial Day. One day is primarily to honor all who served in the U. S. military; the other is for those who served and died in service.
As such, if an NFL player served and returned home safe out of harm's way, then he should be honored. If an NFL player served and died, he should be honored.
Since some young people raised an issue, the next time I visit the HOF, I am going to read each and every name and category of honor to make sure no one has been omitted.
One thing most young people believe is that the military is a synergy where everyone's contribution is valuable. It is a powerful team, and every man has his place and there was a place of honor for every man.
The extent of the honor may vary, but indeed, every NFL player who was present in the military during the Vietnam War and other wars or conflicts, whether he was stationed in Vietnam or in some other part of the world, he/she deserves to be honored.
At this time, I honor and appreciate all of those who partook in protecting the United States of America, no matter what were the daily duties.
We honor the NFL stars who were also stars in the United States military, in all branches, performing any and all duties.
No conclusions are drawn. The need for more research is expressed.
Why is this important? The times we live in may require this generation to define and redefine their patriotism. Are there more Pat Tillman's out there, ready to serve their country rather than to pursue personal careers? Are there more who are willing to have their illustrious careers interrupted if duty calls?
If duty calls, in some way, what is your answer? Will you serve or will you pursue your personal interests?
The good book says, "Everything has a season..." This is the season to "think and prepare."
This is the season and the time that all Oakland Raiders who made a contribution worthy of recognition in the Canton Professional Football Hall of Fame should and must be recognized.
Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day.