Saturday, November 10, 2007

America’s Veterans, A Better Breed

November 10, 2007

It may be very difficult for many to understand, but there exists a segment of our society, a minority within, that willingly place themselves between our enemies and the rest. That segment has always been there throughout our history and will remain there in the future.

They come down from the mountains. They come from the cities of the North and the Bayous of the South. They leave the beaches of California and Florida. North, South, East and West, they leave the comfort of their homes and loved ones to volunteer for America. Young and older, Black, White, Brown, Red and Yellow skinned, historically male, but now female too, they come with no desire of praise or large salaries, but a desire only to see America remain the freest nation on the planet and to see others share in the freedoms we do.

Not all face battle, but many do. Some pay the ultimate sacrifice and end up forgotten by all but family, loved ones and maybe those that sent them. Some never return, lost forever, their fate unknown to all who know and love them.

Others return wounded, broken in body or mind. They may face a life of scorn by the very ones they were protecting. All too often those who wish to use them to further political agendas and who could care less about them use them as political props. They are looked upon as victims instead of as the heroes and patriots they really are.

Many desire to return to battle alongside their comrades as soon as possible, missing limbs and fitted with prosthetics. Lifelong friendships may be forged after the battle ceases while others shun closeness, fearing the pain of losing a friend during another battle.

Our media pages and reports are filled with bad news and claims against them. Some of our politicians denigrate their sacrifices for political gain. And still, they continue to come from all corners of the nation to fight for our freedoms, liberties and to keep our great nation free.

These are the ones that fill the ranks of our Armed Services and our Veterans Groups. They are America’s Veterans.

I once received in email what I consider to be the very best Definition of a Veteran I have ever seen.

“A veteran - whether active duty, retired, national guard, or reserve - is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The 'United States of America', for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'” (Author unknown)

That is Honor. An Honor that too many Americans no longer understand. That is the courage to leave everything behind and possibly travel to far lands to face an enemy to keep people you don’t even know free or to free a people you also don’t know.

I am one who has a very difficult time affixing “Greatest” to any generation as every generation has faced their trials and tribulations. World War Two gave us many who traveled far to fight oppression and tyranny. Many were forced into the Military and many others volunteered.

Korea and Viet Nam were similar but with the Korean Veterans simply being forgotten and the Viet Nam generation facing the scorn of a thankless nation for many years. Yet, the Viet Nam generation had a greater percentage of volunteers than did the World War Two generation.

Today’s Military and Veterans of the current battles are 100% volunteer, no one is forced into the Military against their will. How can we rate these Soldiers, Airman, Sailors and Marines any less than earlier Veterans we consider “the Greatest?” I cannot.

As we reminisce and celebrate another Veteran’s Day, let us recall that we still have several in Harms Way, doing what many of us did before, facing an enemy to keep America free. Facing an enemy to free an oppressed people.

America owes its Veterans, all of its Veterans, a debt of gratitude. It is a debt that can never be adequately repaid. We can never regain what we gave up in our youth to face the enemy. We can never repay what others give up today to keep us free.

The best we can do is honor and respect them, teaching our children to also honor and respect the sacrifices they made and are making today.

Until such time that the world stops producing despots, tyrants and those who feel they have a right to rule all others, we will keep on producing Veterans and they will continue coming forth for all of us. I thank God that they keep coming.

To all my fellow Veterans, Welcome Home!


Results of 5-Year Study of Vietnam Veterans (Hat tip to Pamela at Atlas Shrugs)

Cross posted to A Newt One


Anonymous said...

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot. ~Mark Twain, Notebook, 1935

I remember my fellows with tremendous pride, and humility, that I was so privileged to stand with them.

LewWaters said...

Mustang, I agree with you. During my time in Viet Nam I served alongside some of the very best men I have ever known.

Today, we are aging, gray hired or balding and at times, cross with each other. But still, we are in an exclusive brotherhood few know.

Welcome home, brother.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LewWaters said...

Please make comments in support of or to express appreciation for our Veterans.

I have several other threads for political discussion and statements.

This one is for expressing thanks to our Veterans.

Thank you.

Canuckguy said...

As a Canadian and though I never served in the military , I also have a deep appreciation for veterans. I always attended the Remembrance Day ceremonies and today(Nov 11) I was with my 26 year old schoolteacher daughter and my 90 year old mother who is a veteran in that she was an army nurse and served overseas since 1942 during WWII in England, France Belgium, Holland and Germany not returning home until Aug 1946 as she stayed over to cared for the severly wounded whose departure was delayed. My father who passed away in 1981 also served overseas in Europe in an anti tank regiment. There was a time not that long ago(70's and 80's) when not much was relayed to the school children about the import of Nov 11. However I have noticed in the last half decade, more emphasis in the school in my small province on teaching the kids this part of our history.

It is sad but unavoidable that each year the ranks of the vets thin out and it has been happening at a noticably accelerating rate since the start of the new century.

BTW Lew, when I heard stories about the indifferent, sometimes hostile reception Vietnam vets got returning home, it made me sad that people could be so hard hearted. We currently have some left-wing shitheads in our provincial capital of Fredericton who have pushed for a boycott of business that display the "I Support the Troops" ribbons. They are of the same mindset of those who cursed the home coming Vietnam vets.

LewWaters said...

Thank you, Canuckguy. As I'm sure you already know, I hold the Canadian Military in highest regard, whether the government supports the current cause or not.

Canada has a rich heritage as does America in the fight for freedoms.

We can never minimize the importance of women's sacrifices either. Whether as a nurse, clerk or today, a front line soldier, they have stood up alongside men and too many made the ulitmate sacrifice as well, all to give their fellow man freedom and liberty.

Your fellow countryman, Terry Kelly's Pittance of Time moves me to near tears everytime I watch it. That is the most moving tribute to Veterans I have ever seen.

Anonymous said...

Very nice tribute. Welcome home indeed. They all deserve a hero's welcome, our thanks and our support.

LewWaters said...

Believe me, Debbie, we thank all of you who stood behind us and welcomed us home.

Mike H. said...

"A pittance of time" *and* "Poster Girl" from Oz.

LewWaters said...

Mike, I love both of those songs. They both choke me up.

Gary Fouse said...

Veterans Day

I wish I was more proficient with my blog, so that I could post a picture of a soldier or an American flag to honor Veterans Day. Unfortunately, I am still learning and breaking in with the blog. Anyway, I would not be doing this blog in the first place if it were not for our veterans, especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

I am proud to be a veteran myself, but those who served in combat are far up the military totem pole from me. Today, in an all volunteer military, our young men and women who choose to wear the uniform are the best our society has to offer.

Thank you to all our service members, past and present who have defended and are defending our freedom.

Have a happy Veteran's Day, but don't forget the solumn part of it.

gary fouse

minxtamer said...

Lew, thank you for sharing this. I will share it on my profile. Very eloquent and yet heart rending.

Welcome Home, my friend. I can do no more to try and show how much I appreciate your service to our country.

LewWaters said...

That's all any ever expected, just a simple thank you.

And, thank you, please feel free to share as you wish.