I have a friend over in Bend, Oregon, who has two sons that are in the Army.
One has served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and the other is still in Iraq.
As she tells it, the other day, a young man was in her gift shop and whined
to his mother, because he just found out that he wouldn't be getting any mail
on Veterans Day, "Veterans, Who Do They Think They Are?"
Well, Laural got mad. Mad at the mother who hadn't educated her son and
mad at herself because she didn't answer the young man. So when she got
home, she wrote what follows, so if it ever happened again, she would be
able to answer.
"Veterans, Who Do They Think They Are?"
They are the men and women who live every day in pain. Physical pain
from their wounds, lost limbs, or maybe it's the shrapnel they still carry.
Emotional pain from being separated from their families for long periods of
time. For missing the birth of their child, or death of a parent. Mental
pain for what they have seen and what they had to do. Pain from knowing
that they would have died for you and you are not wise enough to know you
They are the ones who make life-long friends. They know how precious
life is and they never forget the ones who didn't make it back. Never.
That is why you will see Veteran's at the cemetery on Memorial Day walking
around and silently thanking the ones who are buried there. They don't have
to know them personally to know the sacrifice each one made.
They are the ones who are loud and boisterous. They are the ones who are quiet.
They are the ones who shivered in the foxhole, trying to keep the enemy at bay.
They are the ones who crawled through sand when the temperature was 126 degrees.
They are the ones who carried their buddy to safety.
They are the ones who sometimes drink too much, trying to keep the memories from haunting them.
They are the ones who carry the flag with the honor and respect it deserves.
They are the ones who wear their military uniform with pride and still have it in their closet 30 some years later.
They are the ones who don't ask you to go out of your way for them.
They are the ones who have gone out of their way for you.
They are the ones who spent many nights awake on guard duty so you didn't have to.
They are the ones who helped keep our shores safe while you played video games.
They are the ones who missed their birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates.
They are the ones who got shot and got sent home, but felt guilty because their buddies were still there.
They are the ones who followed orders even when they didn't want to.
They are the ones who had enough love and pride in their country to do a job many others couldn't do.
They are the ones who stepped up when the call went out.
They are the ones who ate MRE's till they were sick of them.
They are the ones who cried "Medic" at the top of their lungs though they couldn't even hear their own voice.
They are the ones who cried when they were alone in their tent.
They are the ones who flew planes, drove tanks, worked a ship, and armed the missiles.
They are the ones who had moms at homes praying for them every minute of every day.
They are the ones who made it safe for you so you could go to school or work.
They are the ones who missed ordering pizza, the movies, the shopping trips, and all that you take for granted.
They are the ones who asked to take a friend's deployment because that friend had a family.
They are the ones who gave their girlfriends a lock of their hair to keep as a promise of their return.