Giving Our Respect To Those Who Serve

Published in the July 2020 Issue July 2020 Feature Scott “Sky” Smith

Sometimes watching the news is just about too much to handle. Political parties, opposing religions, embattled rights, freedom of speech, race, gender…the list goes on. It drives a person to go `tooning just to get away from the media frenzy that we are bombarded with.

I’m not saying we should be ignoring all this stuff; I’m just thinking it’s getting to be too much, either it’s too far to the left or too far to the right and lacking, well, respect.

Respect for humanity, the environment, other people and yes, respect for our country.

I do believe that respect starts at home. I can remember when I was child I was with my parent in a neighborhood drug store. Somehow, I managed to slip a Chapstick or something into small bag that my parents had purchased. Nothing big, but when I got home and it was discovered, my folks made me take the item back and apologize in person. Not them, me.

That was a sign of respect, you didn’t steal, lie or cheat. And if you did it was disrespecting the other person or business and that was wrong. Surprisingly after all these years I still remember that experience. I raised my kids that way and still believe that’s how we should live today although it doesn’t seem to be that way on TV or in the news.

Anyway, I do believe we should have a great deal of respect and gratitude for veterans and those currently serving the country. Including the police, first responders and the rest of those heroes who take jobs and additional risks that the rest of us take for granted.

And if it wasn’t for them, we probably wouldn’t have the recreational marine business that we have today. If you think about the products we use every day on our pontoons, how many started in the military?

Off the top of my head there is LORAN, short for long range navigation, which was a navigation system developed during World War II. The U.S. Navy and Air Force both worked on versions which were used through the 90’s.

In the 80’s I was really excited to get LORAN’s installed in the aircraft I was selling and flying. I even had a portable LORAN that I used on my boat and in my aircraft.

And now we use Global Positioning System, or a GPS, developed by the Department of Defense. That system is the leader in navigation for cars, aircraft, marine and smart phones.

Sonar has been used by recreational boaters and fishermen for years. Looking for a school of your favorite game fish? Thank the designers of sonar, which was first used for the military.

And the list goes on, radar, FLIR, plotters etc. A lot of the original designs might not have been designed originally for military applications, but the majority of the technology was developed, improved and enhanced by the military.

Personally, I have a good friend who was in the military who is a boater and a scuba diver. He spent years designing a product that would help people lost in the ocean be found. His design was a highly reflective “kite” attached to a cord stored in the tube. The tube is about a foot long and two inches in diameter making it easy for anyone to carry. Search “radar” systems could see this “kite” from miles away. His goal was the safety of military personal lost at sea, but its use was also important for recreational boaters lost or overboard out in the ocean.

My thought is, without the men and women dedicating their lives as U.S. service personal, us recreation boaters (pilots and even car drivers) would not be enjoying the benefits our industries have.

It doesn’t matter if you believe or don’t believe in the business that the military is in. The people in the services are just doing their very important job. Next time you see someone that is or was in the service, make sure you show them the respect they deserve and thank them for their time and dedication to making it easier for the rest of us to enjoy our lives.


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