Friday, November 11, 2005

A tribute to our veterans

To all fellow veterans who have served this country, both living and dead, we remember you all with gratitude on November 11th.

What Is A Vet? ~ Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC

All Gave Some - Some Gave All

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?
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 Da Nang.
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. 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 dies unrecognized with them on the
battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep. He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied
now and aggravatingly slow - 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.
He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being - a person who
offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who
sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.
He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is
nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest,
greatest nation ever known. So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country,
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".
Remember, November 11th is Veterans Day.

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 campus organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC ~ Guadalcanal Veteran of WWII
Marines, and the Chaplain for the 1st Marine Division