Thursday, November 11, 2004

Veterans' Day

To honor our warriors, I'm reprinting a piece sent to me by a very liberal friend. There's always hope that they'll see the light.

WHAT IS A VET

By Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC

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 protester to burn the flag."
I also wanted to include this wonderful picture from Fallujah to wish the US Marines a Happy 229th Birthday. One of the finest officers I've ever known was my Company Officer at the Naval Academy. He was Major Tim Hannigan, USMC. If any of you know him, give him my best.

This is from yesterday's edition of the New York Post.



Here's a another marine, this time on Guadalcanal in 1942.



Courage and guts are timeless.

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