Honoring Our Vets

When the Country is in need it has always been the Soldier.
It's the Soldier not the newspaper reporter who has given us Freedom of the Press.
It's the Soldier not the Poet who has given us Freedom of Speech.
It's the Soldier not the campus organizer who has given us Freedom to demonstrate.
It's the Soldier who salutes the Flag. Who serves under the Flag.
It's the Soldier who is called upon to defend our American way of life.

General Douglas MacArthur

" In Flanders Fields"
Written by
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
(1872-1918)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunsets glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

'Our Fallen Comrades'

Silent blows the wind across the waving grass
that grows above, our fallen comrades.

From all the wars past, the crosses stand proudly
above ones that gave all, our fallen comrades.

Our Flag waves gracefully as the breezes lift it
long may it wave above, our fallen comrades.

Row after row of stones stand basking in the sun,
our thoughts always with, our fallen comrades.

Fallen comrades laid below, no life do they enjoy
No wandering here and there, our fallen comrades.

Let freedom ring for all to see that which we hold so dear,
let nothing more dismay, our fallen comrades.

Speak out for our country for those who gave so much,
Cherish them always, our fallen comrades.

'From Dark To Light'
written by
Owen F. Devlin

I faced death
and I don't know why,
I'm the one
who did not die.

Many are gone
some whom I knew,
Why am I
one of the chosen few.

I sought the answer everywhere
the land, the sea, the sky,
And still no answer anywhere,
why I did not die.

My friends, my family, all who care
are surely there for me,
Why is it they can't understand
this haunting mystery.

Only those who've made the trek
Who've faced it day by day,
Can really know the random game
That gruesome death will play.

The answer has to lie beyond
the realm of humankind,
We have to look beyond ourselves
The answer there to find.

Somewhere, someone sees the path
where all who've gone have trod,
For me, I found the answer
when I gave it up to God.

The Ragged Old Flag
by Johnny Cash

I walked through a county courthouse square,
On a park bench an old man was sitting there.
I said, "Your old courthouse is kinda rundown,"
He said, "Naw, it'll do for our little town."
I said, "Your flagpole has leaned a bit,
And that's a Ragged Old Flag you got hanging on it."

He said, "Have a seat", and I sat down.
"Is this the first time you've been to our little town?"
I said, "I think it is." He said, "I don't like to brag,
But we're kinda proud of that Ragged Old Flag."

"You see, we got a little hole in that flag there
When Washington took it across the Delaware.
And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott Key
Sat watching it writing 'Oh Say Can You See'.
And it got a bad rip in New Orleans
With Packingham and Jackson tuggin' at its seams."

"And it almost fell at the Alamo
Beside the Texas flag, but she waved on through.
She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville
And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg,
And the south wind blew hard on that Ragged Old Flag."

"On Flanders Field in World War I
She got a big hole from a Bertha Gun.
She turned blood red in World War II
She hung limp and low by the time it was through.
She was in Korea and Vietnam.
She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam."

"She waved from our ships upon the briny foam,
And now they've about quit waving her here back home.
On her own good land she's been abused...
She's been burned, dishonored, denied and refused."

"And the government for which she stands
is scandalized throughout the land.
And she's getting threadbare and wearing thin,
But she's in good shape for the shape she's in.
'Cause she's been through the fire before
and I believe she can take a whole lot more."

"So we raise her up every morning,
Take her down every night.
We don't let her touch the ground
And we fold her up right.
On second thought I DO like to brag,
Cause I'm mighty proud of that Ragged Old Flag."


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. 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 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 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 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 come.

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".


Click Here to read a "A Tribute to Veteran's" by Jerry Calow (copyright 2003 )


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