Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thoughts for this day.

Somebody sent this to me today. Fitting for the date, I thought I would pass it along. Paying it forward, as it were. I've changed the wording a bit to include the women who have, and are, serving.

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.

Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, A piece of shrapnel in the leg or perhaps another sort of inner steel: The soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet just by looking.

What is a vet?


She or he is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.


He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.


She or he is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Danang.


She or he is the POW who went away one person and came back another or didn't come back AT ALL.


He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

He is the parade riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.


She or he is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor remains unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket, aggravatingly slowly, who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

She or he is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being, a person who offered some of their life's most vital years in the service of their country, and who sacrificed their ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

She or he is a Soldier, Marine, Sailor or Airman, and also a savior and a sword against the darkness, and is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember this each time you see someone who has served our country. When you see one just lean over and say "Thank You".

That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU".

God Bless Our Veterans!

I realize there are a lot of you reading this blog from outside the United States. Thank you for that. No matter where we live we are all members of the human family. It's to that extended family that I pass this along.

May governments soon find a way to settle their differences peacefully.

Dan

7 comments:

Charlie6 said...

Outstanding Sir! Outstanding!

dom

motoroz said...

Very well said. Thanks to all of our vets! My dad is a WWII vet and we all owe our vets unending gratitude.

RichardM said...

Thank you for the reminder!

Great post.

Richard

Twitch said...

We may not be in the same country, but we all have our veterans. Taking a minute of silence at 11am on 11/11 is one of the few things that I do every year. Thank you for posting this. The message is international and not confined to any one country.

irondad said...

Dom,

I thought so, too. Like I say, though, this was sent to me by somebody else. It's not my work, but I wish it were!

Motoroz,

Thank you to your dad. I'm glad he came home and had a family.

Richard,

It's easy to forget in daily life. Hopefully vets are appreciated all year.

Twitch,

I'm so glad my intentions came through. I meant it to be all inclusive.

Take care,

Dan

Shannon T Baker said...

Awesome...

Thank you for this post.

-Buddha

Wanderer Roy said...

This post really moved me.

I live in a country where army service is mandatory and recruit age is 18 (incl. women). Personally I'm still doing my reserves annually, so one can say that all here are soldiers presently or in the past or future: husbands, wives, children, brothers, sisters etc.

Hell, all I'm saying is that vets need to be embraced, too often they were estranged by all.