I was a 19D, and did a tour in th A-Stan, and carried an M-4 with a -203 underneath and an M-9. Pops was in the Air Force and served in SEA, he went sliding down a rope out of a helicopter for down aircrew memebers before anyone thought of wearing a red beret.
I had a Great Uncle who was in the 4th Armored Division and rode on the back of the fourth tank in then Colonel Abrams column that relieved Bastonge.
I had one Grandpa slog through the Solomons carrying the tripod for a water cooled Browning and another Grandpa race across France in the 3rd Army.
Great-Grandpa served in the 82nd Inf Div during the War to End All Wars.
I posted this last year, so it seems fitting to post it again....
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."
often attributed to Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC
It was my priviledge to sally forth to the "faint rattle of musketry over the far hill" when my country called upon me to do so. I soldiered with one of the finest men the state of Georgia had to offer, and it was the highest honor in my life to be entrusted to lead nine of them into battle and bring eight of them home safely. I can think of nothing more satisfying to me than knowing that I wore an M-9 Beretta in holster clipped to my MOLLE vest, the same way that Pops had an M-1911A1 in a home made leather shoulder holster, and Grandpa carried a S&W Victory Model in an old Cavalry holster and Great Granda carried an M-1911 with a lanyard under his shoulder strap.
NRA Life Member
Big Sister: "You should be sponsored by Allen"
Me: "If you can't shoot good, at least look good walking to the firing line."
Big Sister: "Can you not afford a Pelican? Then buy an Allen gun bag."