Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans' Day--Give thanks to our heroes

I am certain that I join Gov. Sean Parnell in expressing the thanks of my family to those serving and those who have served this great country. They are the thin red line that keeps us free and the barbarians from the proverbial gates/

We have vets who have done four tours of one year each, with sailors, Marines and airmen who have done equal time doing six months tours in country. The toll on them and their families is incredible and little appreciated by all too many.

I have seen the scars and wounds some of these young men bear from IEDs and VBEDs. They are simply incredible in the strong, positive manner in which they carry on in the face of their challenge in this life.

We owe them all a debt of gratitude that those safe and warm, who have never really been inconvenienced by this war, or any war, cannot appreciate, because of our inability to fully relate to their sacrifice.

The heat, sand, dust, rain, cold, snow, the itching from sweat, being rubbed raw by straps and equipment, blisters, lack of sleep, aching muscles, stink of unwashed bodies, insects, putting up with equipment and gear that is war weary, that fear in the pit of your stomach, and the adrenaline surge of the fight that cannot be imagined by those safe and warm back in the world of the good old U.S.A.—except where the gangbangers play and induce fear. The horror and sense of loss of one of your own who has fallen.

These guys and gals fight for their own, their sense of honor and duty will not let them fail their buddies. They go back in harms way time and again for their friends and comrades, not to cop out, not to let them down; to be there for them.

Then, there are the families. Those who are now Gold Star families who lost their loved one. Their sacrifice ongoing. That pain will never diminish. And, those whose loved one is damaged physically beyond our current medical technology to fix, and those damaged mentally from what they’ve seen and done. The families of those who go again and again in harms way who live that not knowing every day and who worry, but who themselves soldier on for their loved one.

Then, there is the damage to the families, those who divorce for whatever reason; too long away, one day too many of not knowing, of feeling that the unit comes first over the family, on and on. We know that situation all too well.

The greatest generation is not dead. They are wearing the uniform of the Untied States military. The best and greatest military fielded by any nation at any time in any age.

Our children have heroes as role models. All they have to do is to look up at the aircraft protecting our skies and hauling needed supplies to the troops; the grey ships on the world’s seas, and the bright red and white Coasties in our coastal waters and around the world; to look as far their next door neighbor with the “high and tight” haircut who stands tall in uniform; to the young man or woman in the wheel chair or in a hospital bed in a VA hospital; or to just look as far as mommy and/or daddy, brother, son, daughter, uncle, aunt, grandma and grandpa and great grandma and great grandpa.

That old man who shuffles along with bent back might have been a young Marine witness to Tarawa’s and Saipan’s horrors, a young Ranger or Paratrooper who survived D-Day when too many of their comrades did not, did the attack to the rear from the frozen Chosin; the old woman who might have been a nurse or a mechanic, or a pilot flying aircraft to the war theaters all over the world; or the grandma who was a nurse when the VC breached the wire and got as far as the field hospital. You don’t know until you ask.

Thank a vet and those in uniform for their service and sacrifice. Remember not to forget to tell them to thank their families on your behalf for their sacrifice, too.

May God bless our service men and women and our vets and protect those in harms way in far off lands.

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