Thank You to all the Veterans

This link will connect you to 10 Lessons learned from a janitor.

Some veterans/heroes bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain haunted 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 alloy 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/hero just by looking.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 DaNang.

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 that 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”.


4 Responses to “Thank You to all the Veterans”

  1. olotliny Says:

    November 11, 2007
    The Flag on Vetereans Day (a poem)
    John B. Dwyer
    On Veterans Day the flag on high,
    Against a brilliant November sky,
    The cynosure of upturned faces,
    Gazing upon its tri-colored graces –
    Red for valor, white for purity & innocence, blue for
    Vigilance & perseverance –
    The eyes of some who look upon Old Glory,
    Have seen war’s battle-scarred face and can tell its story,
    Tears well up as they remember distant places and good friends lost,
    Knowing better than all others freedom’s cost.
    The wind picks up, a distant eagle soars nearer overhead
    Pride wells in chests; those memories that are never dead,
    Mingle with a nation’s everlasting thanks eternally due,
    As we all salute the Red, White and Blue.

  2. olotliny Says:

    “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”
    -George S. Patton, Jr.

    November 11, 2007
    A Soldier’s Sacrifice (a poem)
    Gerd Schroeder
    This poem is dedicated to Sergeant Aaron C. Elandt, who fell in battle on 30 May 2004,
    as well as to the millions of American Fighters who paid and are paying for our freedom with their lives and sprits.

    What is the Greatest Sacrifice a Soldier Gives to us?

    For the thoughtless the answer is “his life”,

    For the mother and wife the answer is his time,

    That is taken for a year or more,

    Or for eternally,

    The Christian may say “no greater love…”

    A whole man can say his limb, his health,

    In truth it is something that no man can know unless he has served his countrymen,

    How long a mortal must labor to replace this ghost little thought of,

    Like virginity it can only be given once,

    And God or his angles never can replace,

    A wonderful, and a horrible gift paid for spiritually,

    What does a Sergeant give to us when his team is all killed?

    Or a friend, as dear as any brother lies in pieces in his arm?

    Or the commander,

    Who counts his men at the gate?

    Again and again,

    Who refuses to stop rather than admit the truth:

    That one, some, or many, is never to return,

    What does a soldier give to us when he takes another human’s life?

    One, two or many, what he gives took just one sure shot

    But will be exacted throughout eternity,

    What of the Medic, who toils for hours in vain,

    To save a strange, blood covered man, woman, or child,

    With a face absent a name,

    But a Child of God all the same,

    What of the Soldiers in hospital beds,

    With no feet or with no legs,

    They still yet yearn to return,

    To a sand covered land,

    Filled with haters, and killers, not a few,

    To stand in harms way with his brothers again,

    What of the Soldiers, who conceal wounds deep and unseen,

    Who will struggle in secret until the years wear him thin,

    And still in the end he will not win back his gift,

    This thing that is lost, given,

    To Americans one and all,

    They bear the same burden, and yet most can hide the scars,

    But no doctor can ever heal,

    Nor saint could atone,

    That God will not return the most precise gift these Soldiers give,

    To us all unbidden,

    For one cannot see, or understand what is gave,

    Unless one has given the same terrible gift,

    Secret, unfelt, by most of the American masses,

    We oft profess awe, and feign understanding,

    In grand speeches, marches, and holidays,

    Yet eternity will fade and we can’t comprehend,

    This deepest sacrifice given, unbraden and freely,

    By millions of American Soldiers,

    Throughout the last fortcentury,

    It rips these souls asunder,

    Leaves the brave quaking,

    Alone in darkness,

    For the most prime part of his soul,

    That no matter what joy or richness of life after,

    Can never return to fill what the soul, will now, be eternally lacking,

    So what is the Greatest Gift A Soldier, too you gave,

    We lucky Americans?

    His life, heath, time, or wealth?

    No, nothing so mundane,

    He creeds to us freely simply His Humanity,

    Given without grudge,

    Too all Americans, whether sinister or saint,

    Too us all the same blessings are counted,

    So today as we enjoy our families, friends and freedom,

    A holiday from our short good lives,

    Remember the rights,

    Given unalienable by God,

    Yet, exacted through brave men’s sacrifice of their Humanity to you,

    Thank a Soldier but don’t think you can understand,

    Unless you have served, his deep pain, pride and honor,

    In giving his Humanity to you.

    To all the American Fighting men, and women we in ignorance thank you for all that you have sacrificed and will sacrifice to protect this Great Nation.

    May God grant you peace.

    Gerd Schroeder is a Major in the United States Army. He is a Veteran of OIF and OEF; and when time permits is a contributor to the American Thinker.

  3. olotliny Says:
    Freedom, Even from Fear
    Remembering the special sacrifices of our veterans.

    By Victor Davis Hanson

    A civilization is won or lost by those who fight to protect it — and judged as deserving by the gratitude offered to its soldiers by those who were saved. Afghanistan and Iraq remind us that there are now Americans in battle in the tradition of 1776, 1864, 1918, or 1944. But are we, the public, still cognizant of their sacrifice as our forefathers once were?

    This Veterans Day we should worry that we have not passed to the next generation proper commemoration — or even knowledge — of Saratoga, Shiloh, St. Mihiel, Metz, Chosun, or Hue. In part, the culprit is our own madcap lives. We are so wired with blackberries or glued to play stations, that we don’t inquire much about the fields of white crosses — and their anonymous dead — that each year, for a blink, appear on our Veterans Day television screens.

    When in Europe we don’t pay our respects at the American cemetery at Hamm. Indeed, we know an American battle only to the degree it has been the rare topic of a recent film. Thanks to Saving Private Ryan there is still a D-Day among our youth.

    Politically correct history has also made us indifferent to the sacrifice of the soldier. The Civil War, we are sometimes told, was not really over slavery anyway. The Great War was unnecessary infighting among European aristocracies. World War II is now as much the Japanese Internment, Rosy the Riveter, and Hiroshima, as saving Europe and Asia from a racist slavery at places like Falaise and Tarawa. Does anyone make the connection between a Samsung television or Kia in our showrooms with the bloody see-saw struggles for Seoul? Why is a Noriega in jail, why are Milosevic and Saddam bad memories, and why are men walking without beards in Kabul?

    What American from Tulare or Lansing died for all that — and the larger notion that dictators were to be fought and defeated far away, rather than here at home? Do we still appreciate that our soldiers, so many of whom have perished to keep us free — and yet also freed a defeated enemy as well from a Hitler, or Tojo, or the Taliban — knowing that had they failed our enemies, would not be so magnanimous?

    In our sophistication, perhaps too we think we should have evolved beyond war, the nature of man at last changed for good through greater education, affluence, and experience. Commemorating war’s toll, then, for some, may be like recalling cancer — as if the oncologist and soldier alike somehow are tainted by the respective horror of what they must do.

    Or is the problem that our military has become so adept — or so small a percentage of the population — that we are only vaguely cognizant of far-off places like Basra, Bosnia, Grenada, Kandahar, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mogadishu, or Panama — battlefields where someone else in the military did something for some apparently necessary reason? Most Americans have little clue whether any of our own died the last twenty years in Panama or were lost in Mogadishu. Or if so, how and why?

    We should remember on this Veterans Day that some very young people — with long futures, in the prime of health, and at the center of their families — died for the rest of us. They lost their lives not just for us to watch an OJ outburst in Vegas or American Idol, but for the idea that we — most often not so young, not so hale, and not with such bright futures as our soldiers — could be free at their expense; free, not merely from being conquered or enslaved, but free from the very thought of it.

    — Victor Davis Hanson is a military historian and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

  4. olotliny Says:
    Illegal aliens have a better lobby than U.S. military veterans
    By D.A. King | | Story updated at 7:44 PM on Monday, November 12, 2007

    “The character of a nation can be measured by the way that nation treats its veterans.” – Author unknown.

    Another Veterans Day has come and gone, and the far-too-sparsely attended parades and ceremonies are over until next year. As a former Marine and someone who studies illegal immigration and the fact that the president of the United States has refused to secure American borders more than six years after the horror of 9/11, Veterans Day always brings to mind the puzzling system of priorities we have as a nation.

    One example: Since 2003, the Veterans Administration has had a medical care eligibility means test for American military veterans. The American Journal of Public Health reported last month that more than one million vets have no insurance or access to VA medical care.

    But, because of a federal mandate, American taxpayers – including veterans – routinely pay for no-cost medical care for people who reside in the United States illegally.

    At age 55, like most vets my age I can clearly remember the promise of “free medical care for the rest of your life” from my government as a 17-year-old recruit.

    As it has on the promise to secure American borders, the Bush administration has gone back on the promise to many vets.

    On Jan. 17, 2003, the Veterans Administration changed its enrollment guidelines and began to ask detailed questions of the U.S. military veterans who apply for their promised medical benefits after that date. Questions like, “What was your income last year?”, “How many dependents do you have?” and “Is your need for treatment related to your past military service?”

    Vets who earn more than about $34,000 a year without a military-related medical problem are put into “Category 8g” … and denied the promised free routine health care.

    According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, emergency medical care for those formerly in the service of their nation in Category 8g is granted “on a humanitarian emergency basis and (they) are charged the applicable tortuously liable billing rate for services provided.”

    The illegal aliens who are demanding immunity from the equal application of American border, immigration and employment laws have no problem qualifying for free medical treatment.

    No means test, no questions asked. No bills.

    In 1986, the year the federal government rewarded about three million illegal aliens with a “one-time” amnesty, it also passed into law the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which guarantees no-cost medical treatment in American emergency rooms to anyone, regardless of ability to pay or immigration status. Or both.

    The fact that the 1986 amnesty was a miserable failure at its promised goal – stopping illegal immigration and illegal employment – is undeniable. EMTALA, however, is enforced and works quite well. Millions of illegal aliens receive taxpayer-funded health care – emergency or not – in America’s emergency rooms at the lowest possible charge: Zero.

    There are about 25 million living vets in today’s America. Most who study illegal immigration understand that we have at least the same number of illegal aliens, notwithstanding the ridiculous estimates from the federal government.

    As someone who has thought a lot about the “why” in this sad but true conflict in priorities, the answer is shamefully clear.

    The illegal aliens and their employers have a far more well-funded and effective lobby in Congress than the American veterans.

    We should all be asking a lot of questions here. This cannot be who we are as a nation. Can it?

    • D.A. King is a former U.S. Marine and president of the Dustin Inman Society, a Marietta-based nonprofit coalition dedicated to educating the public on the consequences of illegal immigration. In 2004, he applied for VA medical benefits and was assigned to Category 8g.

    Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 111307

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: