Subject: Happy Veterans Day!
What is a Vet?
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
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 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
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.
One fine man probably
summarized it best...
"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."