Monday, May 30, 2005

Earlier I threatened to post something for Memorial Day. On second thought, it's much more appropriate for Veterans' Day, so you'll have to suffer through my own thoughts on Memorial Day.

Went to the parade today. I couldn't resist wearing an I Love Me hat that the kids bought for me at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum two summers ago. Nice hat with a full color SF patch and tab on it, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Special Forces. Lots of other hats there, so I wasn't alone. It was a nice parade, though small--as befits a small town. Afterwards there was a ceremony at the cemetary.

Car went by with a group of disabled vets in it. My wife said "They're like daddy". (I get a pension due to being hurt while training). I said "No, they're not. They got theirs legitimately". She didn't hear me and asked me to repeat it. I couldn't.

In fact, I couldn't talk for most of the parade.

I noticed that the stores are stocked up with fireworks--at least the lame excuses for fireworks that we're allowed in this lame excuse for a state. It seems a bit early to be stocking for the 4th of July, but I hope they're not thinking people will want them today. Don't get me wrong--I love fireworks. Next to hurting people, blowing things up is one of my favorite pursuits. But today isn't a day for fireworks. It's a day for reflection and honoring those who gave everything for this country.

There's a lot to remember. Those who never came back. Those who came back minus limbs and faces. And those whose bodies came back, walking and talking, but it wasn't him anymore.

Flint Kaserne, at Bad Toelz, Germany, had a large wooden statue of a Special Forces soldier, hand carved by a local artisan. It's probably at Panzer Kaserne in Stuttgart now. Next to the statue was a plaque with the names of 10th Group soldiers who died in Vietnam. One day I was looking at the plaque and one of the old Chief Warrant Officers stopped and stood with me for a moment. He pointed out a name on the plaque and told me that the guy was the only soldier he knew who wore his flak vest all of the time. He was shot through the side, where the front and back of the vest didn't meet.

No greater love. People join the military to serve their country, but it turns out that in actual combat men do the things they do without thought for country, but for their buddies. You may wonder why old soldiers are they way they are, preferring each others' company. The bond is incredible. Even never having experienced combat, I feel a stronger bond to military and ex-military types than to anyone else.

Anyway, to all of those past, present and future who have given their very lives so that the rest of us may live free in the greatest country on this planet--Thanks.


jbrookins said...

I left active duty for a while. Well a couple of times I did that and I tell you I had nothing in common with most folks I worked with. They weren't bad people but we were from different worlds.

Anonymous said...

Your injuries are just as legitimate a sacrifice as theirs. Both were sustained in service to the nation, and both are honorable and worthy of great respect.

Snake Eater said...

Thank you, Anonymous.