May 28, 2005

Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day weekend. I've been searching for something fitting, something that expresses the depth of my gratitude, the intense pride I take regarding our Military.

Last year I posted about traditions and passing those along. How important it is that we teach our children, and theirs, to remember.

I found the following poem today at this site. I'm copying it over here because it says everything I feel....and I don't want you to miss it - for any reason.

What is a Vet?

Some veterans bear visable 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 by just looking.

What is a vet?

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day to make sure the armored personnel carrier didn't run out of fuel.

He is the bar room 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 back.

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 heros in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heros 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 aggrivatingly slow - who helped to liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and 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 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

~Author Unknown~

This weekend, as a nation, we remember. We say Thank You. But I have to add - it shouldn't be just one weekend a year. Every day. Every single day we must remember what it takes to keep us free.

So I say - Thank You to all who have served with honor and selflessness to give us our freedom, to maintain our liberty. Thank you for the sacrifices you made, and make for us. Thank you to your families for standing so strongly with you. From the very bottom of my heart - Thank You.

Posted by Tammi at May 28, 2005 07:46 AM | TrackBack

Thank you Tammi.

Posted by: Koolaid at May 28, 2005 09:09 AM

Thank you for posting this, Tammi. We owe more, as a people, than we can remit to those who have/are honorably served/serving in our military.

Posted by: David at May 28, 2005 10:55 AM

Oh, wow.

You never cease to amaze me.

Thank you all!

Posted by: Christina at May 28, 2005 08:05 PM