The following was posted on a List Serv for the Philadelphia PA area that I
also belong to, and thought it would be most appropriate for today.
I had tears in my eyes as I read it. Let's also take a moment today to
remember all those fellows who did not come home from the greatest war ever
experienced in our nation's history as well as those who did get to come
home, but forever changed as a result. I speak of all those who give our two
discussion groups (CWDG and TalkAntietam) so much to talk about.
To all the veterans in the CWDG and also in the TalkAntietam discussion
boards, "Thank YOU!"
WHAT IS A VETERAN?
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 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 Unknowns,
whose presence at 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
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
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,
---Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war,
no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they
perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their
G E "Gerry" Mayers
"As an American citizen I prize the Union very highly
and know of no personal sacrifice that I would not make
to preserve it, save that of honour."
--Robt. E. Lee, Letter to Rooney Lee, 3 December 1860