Skip to comments.Today I Met The Finest.
Posted on 11/10/2007 1:54:57 PM PST by timydnuc
Today my wife talked me into going to our Veterans Center for the annual breakfast. Senator Norm Coleman and our Governor, Tim Palenty, were scheduled to speak. I agreed that I should go to meet and gripe at my republican legislators.
I arrived at the breakfast to find a large group of people, old and young. There were young Marines and soldiers in their dress blues. All ranks and all services serving the people that were there. There were many old gentlemen in their American Legion dress. I was served by a strong tall Marine who thanked me for my service (I had my Nam Vet hat on, that my son bought for me). I told him, "No son! I thank you". The tears started there.
I found a seat with a group of "old men" that were decked out in red. I didn't know what that stood for. Well, I learned real quick. They were prisoners of war during WWll. On their caps they proudly wore the name of their Stalag. They welcomed me and we talked of their adventures. It seems that they escaped three times, only to be recaptured. They laughed, laughed mind you when they told me that they thought they were closer to a border than they really were. When I asked them what happened to them when they were recaptured, they all stopped, looked into their coffee for a moment then changed the subject.
I met three old Marines that were members of the Chosin Few. Survivers of the battle of the Chosin Reserviour in North Korea. Look that battle up on the Web and you'll find a story that will break your heart.
I met a man in a wheel chair, he had no legs. He was a survivor of Pearl Harbor. He was aboard the USS Hawk, and was blown overboard. I met a tall white haired man, dressed very well. He had but one thing on that was of military vintage. It was an Army Air Corps officer's had, that had a 50 mission crush. He was a bomber pilot in the war. I met two old sailers that served the entire war aboard the USS Yorktown. The ship that the Japanese couldn't sink. Their pride shined through their wrinkled faces.
There were a Gathering of Eagles there as well. Nam Vets all. We talked and I admired their bikes and we stopped to remember those that were not there.
One old Vet came up to me and said he was sorry. Sorry because he and his didn't stand up for me and mine after Viet Nam. I told him that we had stand on our own, we had our war and we had to defend it ourselves. I thanked him for the thought. He was still sorry. That doesn't matter.
As I stood in that hall I realized that I was in the company of real greatness and I didn't bring much to the table. I saw a young Marine, in his blues, head held high, body straight and strong. He was walking with a crutch, and couldn't talk very well. He got hit in the head in Iraq. You could see the scars. But you could also see the pride in his deep brown eyes. I told him "Thank You", he looked at my hat and struggled out...Thank You. I lost it!
There was a very good orchestra. Military music. When they got to the Marine Corps hymn the injured Marine struggled to his feet, none of his Marine buddies would help him, he wouldn't have taken help anyway. They all sang the words to the entire hymn, at the end they gave a rousing UH RHA!
The politicians spoke and as I sat there I wanted to jump up and say, "Don't you pander the these brave men. Don't you ever. Can you see the price that has been paid for our libery in the room? Can you ever be as brave as these men? I don't think so".
This is the first time I ever went to one of these things. It won't be the last. There are great men out there that fought to save this country. I am proud of what I fought for in Viet Nam, but these guys saved the world. When they are asked why they did it, they gave the same answer that my father did when I asked him that question...."somebody had to do it".
Tonight I'll drink a toast to all the men that I served with, to my father (101st, D-day +1) and all the brave men I met today, and to all the brave men that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Look at your greeter at your local Wal-Mart he just may have an old uniform shoved back in closet somewhere with a Metal of Honor stuck on it. These "old men" saved the world and never asked anything for their service but a job and a chance to be back home. Dear God, let me be as great and as humble as the fine Americans.
I saw a cartoon yesterday. There was a little boy standing next to his father watching a parade. The parade had some old men in American Legion dress marching, some on walkers. The little boy asked his dad, "who are those old men daddy"? His father replies, "Heros son"! That is the truth.
Thank your nearest Veteran. Freedom, it isn't free and it's brought to you by the ordinary American Hero, and I'm proud to be a member of that brotherhood.
God bless America, and God give us the courage of our fathers.
“Good night Chesty....”
that was our evening prayer in boot camp.
I had a wonderful experience recently as well. A young Navy corpsman spoke at our luncheon the other day in remembrance of Veteran's Day. He gave the most eloquent and patriotic speech I have heard in a long time. It made me think of how wrong Jon Carry was about the best and brightest young people we have serving in our armed forces.
He recounted his two tours in Iraq and joked about being the right kind of Navy guy according to the Marines. He also discussed the amazing progress he saw from one visit to the next. The first time he didn't think he'd make it home alive and the second time he made friendships with Iraqis that he will never forget.
The remainder of his speech focused on thanking those whose unwavering support made it possible for them to continue to keep their high morale and continued commitment for the cause each time they are deployed.
He was so humble, yet so proud of his service and his country. Mostly, he was extremely thankful for the support of his family, friends and fellow Americans. He reminded us that the deployments are often harder on those left behind. He mentioned how grateful the troops are for care packages from home and for cards written to them by school children.
I had tears well up in my eyes when he finished as we all gave him a standing ovation. I wanted to run up there and hug him (but I restrained myself). I looked over at his young fiance who was at my table and she had tears of pride running down her cheek (I hugged her instead). It was all very heartwarming and inspirational to see such bright, young Americans sacrificing so much for us.
God bless all of our Veterans -- the old ones and the young ones!
Welcome home, Sir. I’ll always be proud to be associated with our mentor generation - the Vietnam Vets. Best teachers we could ever have. Because of you, I am alive today. Thanks.
Wow!! Truly inspiring. Thank you so much. Once for sharing that wonderful day of yours and thank you again for your service. I am so lucky to be in this company.
This was writen by the SgtMaj of the Marine Corps - Carlton Kent.
There are many ingredendients you must have in the mix to create a strong willing Marine. Honor, duty and bravery come to mind for the average citizen. But those who experience and live those ideals every day know the importance of clarity and focus. An effective Marine is not distracted from the importance of his mission. An effective Marine does not hesitate in the moment of crisis because he is sure. An effective Marine will not second-guess his finely-honed instincts by worrying about what is happening at home.
You can not have a strong Marine without a successful family readiness program, that forms the backbone of the Corps. Marine famlies are committed to contributing to victory by winning on the home front when the Marines are foward deployed. We cannot turn a blind eye to them - because they sacrifice just as much. I think you would be hard pressed to find me a Marine that doesn't have a great family supporting with pride and prayer.
Marine Mom, may God keep your Marine safe.
Yes it was the very last thing we said every night just after the lights were turned out!
Amen and thank you....
My monitor is all blurry..snif
Thank you and I thank all the Veterans!!
Because you went I did not have to.
Thank you for your service.
You met the finest today, because you are one of them.
They were all smiling for the camera, in spite of the miserable cold and the Red Chinese threat to overrun them and take their lives. I marvel at the toughness of such people. There are so many over there in the Middle east right now, of similar character.
Thanks for sharing this great experience.
Welcome Home and Thank You for serving our great country, Brother.
I’ll proudly be attending two events tomorrow.
Some things must be repeated time in again, year after year. America must never reach a point where it forgets the sacrifices our men and women perform in uniform, every time their nation calls upon them to do very extraordinary things.
Wow, what an honor just to read the stoty.
Thanks for posting your experience, timydnuc. And thank you for your service to our country. Our troops are the best. Bar none.
timydnuc: Thank you for your service.
Star: Thank you for the ping.
The true hero's were very embarrassed when called heros. They felt uncomfortable if you referred to them as heros. It took me a long time to figure out why.
In nearly every case they are haunted by the things they didn't do. They didn't risk certain death to take a one chance in a million of saving a fellow soldiers life. They tend to blame themselves for not taking the fatal bullet that killed their buddy. They suffer guilt for not being among the ones killed in battle.
I used to tell them what General Patton said. No one every won a war by dying for his country. Wars are won by men who cause the enemy to die for his country.
The veterans of combat need to understand that is is not the men who lie dead and buried as a result of combat who are the heros of WWII. We do owe those killed in combat much.
But it is the men who survived day after day of combat and came home alive that are the real heros. They are the ones that caused the enemy to die for their country. They are the reason our nation was victorious in WWII. WE ALL OWE THEM MORE THAN WE CAN EVER PAY!!!
...just a reminder:
When in England at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of ‘empire building’ by George Bush. He answered by saying, “Over the
years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.”
It became very quiet in the room.
Amen. Thank you.