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Salute for Veterans Day

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Politics aside. We are extremely lucky to have the men and women who have/are serving.

Thought I would pass this along.


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


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.”

Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, USMC

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Before us today is a memorial- to fallen soldiers, to our comrades in arms, to those that have gone before us. It is powerful in its simplicity, inspiring in its symbolism. It is eloquent in its silence.

A pair of boots. Worn - - many miles on their soles. These boots have made a journey. A journey steeped in tradition from 14 June 1775, when citizens gathered to fight the tyranny of a distant ruler. A tradition forged at Lexington, Yorktown, and Valley Forge. Tempered at Gettysburg, and Chancellorsville. Burnished at Argonne, Bastogne, Neimegen, and Normandy. Tested at Pusan, Inchon, and in the Mekong. Grenada, Panama, Kuwait, Mogadishu, Bosnia.

The boots are empty. They will travel no more. A soldier has completed his journey.

Between the boots, a rifle. Symbolic of the spirit of the warrior who carried it, the soldier who gripped it in fierce resolve. Determined to defend democracy; to bring liberty to those oppressed; to protect the innocent and destroy the malignant. A weapon symbolic of power and might, and the destruction it wrought. Its power eclipsed only by that of the heart of the soldier who bore it.

The rifle points down. It will fire no more. A soldier has completed his mission.

A helmet- it once protected the soldier. From bullets and shrapnel it provided security. From sun and rain it afforded respite. Foxholes, trenches, bunkers – no mission did it fail, no danger destroyed its strength. It was once bowed at the passing of a friend. It was held high with discipline, with pride, with dignity.

The helmet hangs empty. It will shield no more. A soldier is eternally safe.

Finally, a set of dog tags. The name of a soldier, a life’s story etched on metal. Around his neck they hung, a reminder of self to an unselfish man. A symbol of service to a country, and to a cause. An identity established, an absence noted.

The dog tags hang lonely. Their purpose no longer extant. A soldier has come home.

The memorial is complete; the final roll has been called. We are fewer now than we were before.

How do we note their absence? How do we honor their service? How do we remember?

We continue our journey. The mission still calls. A soldier’s work is never complete; a warrior’s purpose remains eternally true.

We will not forget the fallen soldier; we can never repay his sacrifice. We can only continue to serve as he served. With devotion. With dignity. With pride.

And with honor.

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To all veterans:

I don't have any fancy words or a well planned speech that can adequately express what you mean to me and every other American. You know full and well what service you have given us and precious few of us can fathom what it means. Regardless, please know that I am now and forever grateful for what you have dedicated your life to. If I knew how to repay you, I would.

Thank you all. You are better men and women than I am.

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It is an under celebrated day. I am quite proud to have served and thank everyone who does serve or has served. Good thread!

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