I often wonder how those in the armed forces sustain their will to follow orders and stay on the military course, particularly in the face of personal desires and moral codes. After being banished to my high school hallways and, on occasion, sent directly to the principal’s office, I know I would not endure having to follow the orders of a military superior that defied my ideals. That’s why I was fascinated with this week’s 64 and More Interview with Col. Edward Horvath.

Going into the interview, I expected to meet a hard-line, straight-and-narrow man,formed and focused by years of military structure. In other words, an individual with no room for variance. Think along the lines of George C. Scott in “Patton” or Jack Nicholson’s Col. Nathan R. Jessep from, “A Few Good Men”.

The man I met and came to know is a former Navy Major and Army Colonel of courageous character,much like General Patton and Col.Jessep.Yet in his own right, Ed Horvath is an individual with an innate understanding of people as imperfect individuals, each in need of the respect due them as fellow human beings. Further he is dedicated to helping others earn that respect, despite steps they may have taken outside the “straight and narrow”.

Over the course of our 90-minute interview, I pointedly questioned Col. Horvath about the “follow the rules or else”
mentaility of the armed forces. No matter how impudient my questions may have sounded, not once did this respected veteran bristle or chastise. Rather he patiently endured and did his best to explain ways in which the military is more than movie soundbites of demoralizing commanders.

In attempting to educate me this man, who has given almost two decades of life to serving his nation, used words like, “bonding experience”, 64 and More Vol. 7  #5  The Man Behind The Titles“community” “sister and brotherhood” — ideals I never imagined as part of military life. Additionally, he acknowledged the imperfections of the military system, explaining all he did to try and make a difference within its ranks, as a man of care and compassion as much a titled-commander.

Then this respected military veteran talked about the depression he has battled as a result of his combat experiences and the deep sense of loss he feels in no longer being an active part of the military world, freely-forming tears proving his emotional struggles. And throughout our interview, Ed talked about his deep love for his father, a military man who shaped his son into a person of honor and dedication in every element of his life roles as husband, father, physician and military man.

While I still know I would never be able to follow the military path, I am grateful for this 64 and More interview and the whole new understanding of those who do serve, thanks to the person behind the titles of Major and Colonel, Edward Horvath.