Salute to Veterans
Salute to Veterans
…..a Salute to Veterans, than and today. From Lexington and Concord, to the returning veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan…Thank You .. for your service.
“While I slept in a soft bed, comforted with warm food and the safety of a peaceful home, another man halfway around the world fought and bled in my place…for my freedom .. and the freedom of those I hold dear”. – Brian Gallagher
“The greatest casualty.. is being forgotten”. ( Wounded Warrior Project)
They were the men and women that rallied when they were called. Many joined without being called, because it was the right thing to do. Some joined knowing they would not fight, but could help their wounded comrades when the time came. There were many who knew themselves and what their actions might be, and that they were not coming back. We called all of them .. soldiers.
People from all walks of life, from the baker to the shoemaker, to the smiling toy maker. Once a banker to a tanker, once a husband to an infantryman. Once a young boy or girl with the eyes of a child, to a battle scarred veteran with eyes that no longer trust.
Often a war story that simply cannot and will not be told, their sacrifice is now complete and without measure.
They left their clothes for a uniform. They left the comforts of their homes for a foxhole. Into their hands was placed an unfamiliar weapon they would now use to fight for our freedom, our cause, for their very lives and those of the men they trained with who now fought next to them. They fought for each other.
They were trained to fight an often unbeatable foe in the worst environments, under the worst conditions, and they still “moved up” and fought. Often close enough to see the hatred or terror in their enemies eyes, and still they closed ranks once again and marched and often ran toward the sound of the guns.
Names that you may know, as they are carried on the winds of history, sacrifice, and time itself. They say time does heal all wounds. But it is our duty to never forget.
From the fields of Lexington and the shouts of the first Americans to make a stand, to the rolling hills of Gettysburg and the brave souls who would walk into history on those sunny July days. From the U.S. Marines who advanced at Belleau Wood, France in 1918 to the waves of “Citizen Soldiers” pouring off the “Higgins Boats” onto the shores of Normandy on June 6, 1944.
Remember the Chosin Reservoir in Korea to the lonely hilltops of Khe Sanh, Vietnam. And the loneliness these veterans would often endure when they returned from these wars that were often unspoken, unpopular. Some even advised to take off their uniforms and medals of valor so as not to be identified, and degraded by an ungrateful public upon return to their homes and families who would hardly recognize the boy that left. To all these men and women in uniform, I personally say..thank you for your service.
Now we welcome back our veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. A different time in our nations’ history with a foreboding landscape of battle . A set of rules that includes our young women on our front lines. From daughters and sisters to mothers leaving their children and families behind. Thank them for their service.Welcome Home soldier
These veterans, these loved ones, sometimes whole … often broken. Who typically will tell you “they are not the heroes, the heroes are still back there”. The humility is evident, while the chronicled individual acts of courage and selflessness remain.
The memories of lost buddies or the new guy that was gone so fast that none remembered his name, but all remembered his face, the last fearful moments, his questions, maybe his jokes or words of encouragement before he was gone.
Like the fine book title states “We were soldiers once..and young” .
They were all young. They were all healthy and generally happy. They were all willing to put it on the line and fight in our place no matter how scared they were. Now it is our time to do our duty..to remember and thank them.
To be sure they are getting the best care and support they might require.
Thank a returning service member .. just ask them if they were once a soldier, ask them if they were young. Ask them if they are well now. Ask them…if there is something you can do if they are in need, no matter how brief or small. Than just extend your hand and say “Thank you for your service”. Welcome home.
Salute to Veterans .. from The Wounded Warrior Project …”the greatest casualty.. is being forgotten”.