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Happy Veteran's Day

Duke C #11

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Some veterans bear visible signs of their service…a missing limb, an aged scar, a certain look in their eye. Others 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 souls ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, the men and women who have kept America safe and free wear no badge or emblem. You can’t tell who the vet is just by looking.


He is a cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carrier 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 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 others backs.


He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.


He is a career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.


He is one of the anonymous heroes in The Tomb of the Unknowns, who’s presence at 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 oceans sunless deep.


He is the 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, yet 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 and dreams so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.


He is the hero who made sure his fellow soldiers were safe before moving, after stepping on a land mine, knowing that would be the last thing he would ever do on earth.


He is a soldier and a savior against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest nation ever known.


So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say “THANK YOU.â€

That’s all they need to hear, and it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded. Just two little words that will mean so much.




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