scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: Fwd: Veteran's day
Wed Nov 10 1999 - 09:23:02 CST
Everyone, my brother received this from a friend and forwarded it to
me. He is a vet, but of a much younger generation. I thought you would
Deb Morrow <firstname.lastname@example.org>
My brother's friend wrote:
As many of you know and a few who don't, I am a Veteran of the Vietnam
war. I was in the Air Force, but was assigned to an "Air Commando" unit,
which would later become a group known as Para Rescue. I served two
special forces tours in country, from 1972-73, and 1973-74, in MACV-SOG
Military Assistance Command Vietnam-Special Operations Group(The cease
fire occured in January of 1973, but that seemed to do little to stop my
missions). I was what was called an assault team leader, leading a 12
man unit of multi service personel in dirty ops in Cambodia and Laos,
and some work in the delta and the Ashau Valley in the Central
Highlands. My missions never existed.
I also worked the Fall of Saigon, evacuating the U.S. Embassy; A day
later I was assigned to the team that recovered the U.S.S. Mayaguez. I
resigned my commission in 1976.
I read in the paper today about how most of our young have little
knowledge of what it means to be a vet. Growing up I remember attending
parades, even during the height of the Vietnam war protest. Today, few
parades are staged on This hallowed day, that originally was called
Armistice Day to celebrate the American's soldier's efforts in World War
I. President Eisenhauer changed it in 1956 I believe to include all
veterans, hence the current name.
I work at a major University in Florida. Most of the students see it as
a free day off. They have no clue what it means. To me, as one who went
there, lost dear friends, and nearly died there, this saddens me. So I
am forwarding a little message to all my friends and aquaintances, to
make you who are not vets, think about us who are. And give us a day out
of the year and say thanks. -- Wolf.
DADDY, WHAT IS A VET?
Some veterans bear visible 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 just by looking.
So what is a vet? He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in
Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel
carriers 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 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 Parris Island drill instructor who has never seen combat - but has
saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang
into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.
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 any of the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose
presence at the 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 ocean's sunless deep.
He is the old 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
He is an ordinary and yet an 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".
"It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag."
Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC
Remember November 11th is Veterans Day.
Never let them be forgotten.