Saturday, November 11, 2006
The day is almost over, and I don't want to sound like I'm tooting my own horn, but today is Veteran's/Armistice Day, one could even say my day. Tammy Bruce makes a great tribute to the veterans. I also found the following on the net and I imagine it is a well-known meme: Who is a veteran? Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others my carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of internal scar forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe and free wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a veteran just by looking. So, who is a veteran? Who are these extra special people? He's the policeman on the beat or patrol car, who spent six months in Saudi Arabia seating two thousand gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers and aircraft didn't run out of fuel. He's the barroom loudmouth, dumber than a wooden post to us, but whose overgrown school-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery, exhibited near the 38th parallel. He is the old man bagging groceries at the supermarket, very palsied now and aggravatingly slow to us in today's fast paced lifestyle, who helped liberate Nazi Death camps, and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when his nightmares return. He is the priest or minister in the local parish, who delivered the last rights to dying young boys more times during one year in Vietnam, than most other priests or ministers could deliver in ten lifetimes. He or she is the nurse we see in the hospital, who fought against futility, watching young boys die, or remain permanently disabled, and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in DaNang. He is the prisoner of war, who went away one person, and came back another....or hasn't come back yet at all. He is the drill instructor, who has never seen combat himself, but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account, rednecks and gang members, inexperienced young men and women, into Soldiers and Marines, and taught them to watch each other's backs in a time of need. He's the parade-riding Legionnaire, who proudly pins ribbons and medals to his chest with prosthetic hand - courtesy of a battle forgotten by everyone, but him. He's the career Quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by, but whose function is indispensable during an active campaign. There are the anonymous heroes in the "Tomb of the Unknowns" whose presence at the Arlington Memorial Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all anonymous heroes that made the supreme sacrifice, and whose valor died unrecognized with them on the battlefields and on the oceans of the world. He's an ordinary, and yet extraordinary human being; a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country - who sacrificed his ambitions so that others wouldn't have to sacrifice theirs. He is a soldier, and a savior, and a sword against the darkness. He is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known. And we must never forget all that they have given to us, which most of us take for granted today living in our great nation- Because: It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the organizer, who has given us the freedom to assemble and demonstrate. And it is the soldier, who proudly salutes our Flag. Who faithfully serves beneath our Flag. And whose coffin is honorably draped under our Flag. Now, I am not posting this as self-promotion, but for all the folks like me who have served or are serving, esepcially to those who do their utmost to make the title "soldier" an honourable one.