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.
Veteran’s Day bump.
Cried through the whole darn thing.
Thank you for your service and for posting this.
Thank You for your service, and for sharing this story. I just emailed it to some of my friends.
Respects to Ya’ll on this day !
I hope it is easy for you and ya have a place in the sun to warm your old bones !
Stay safe !
Thanks partner, I appreciate that.
In fact - I am presently sitting out in the warm and bright sun on my patio in California, operating wirelessly.
It feels good on my back and my balding head.....even though I can remember how I cursed the Sun when I didn’t want the light to torture me with its heat or reveal our position or movement to the enemy...
For two days and nights now — I’ve been pouring some good sipping whiskey into an old fashion glass over an ice cube and drinking toasts to those brothers who are no longer with me...
From my patio - I have neither a clear line of sight to my East toward the Wall on the Mall nor to my Southwest toward Vietnam — mountains surround me. But I can see both clearly, even through whiskey, tears and age blurred eyes...
This is always a horrible time of year for me and mine.....
I pray for the lost, and pray that the sword and shield of our Lord will stand over our young warriors still on the battlefield....that they may slay the enemy and return intact to their loved ones and family.
And you old friend, Your legs should be getting less speedy, so cut your fuses a little longer or run your wire a lot further before you crank off that charge..
Semper Fi -— and rest assured that at the core, it’s STILL the Corps.
Happy Birthday Marines!
Welcome home warriors!
And Good Night Chesty!
Thank you for posting this timydnuc, so very moving.
Thank you & all who serve past & present!
Friday I was told I had to be into work an hour early (0630 instead of 0730).
I got there right on time to find it was a surprise breakfast from the school to all 15 prior service vets on the faculty. Flabbergasted is not quite the word but it's the best I can do. At the ceremony we were all given little certificates and asked to contribute (temporarily) a few pics of ourselves from active duty years. I loaned three. There is a contest to see which of the student body can put the the correct name to the old pic. All the more surprising because the Principals, and assistant Principals all saw the same phot album I show my students every year which features significant moments from my active duty years as well as stuff since. That would include IDPA shooting matches and pix of my wife and daughter shooting as well. I got a lot of new looks of respect from this crowd.
Then were all pinned with a special card on our shirts. The kids were all told to identify the cards and just walk up at random and thank us for our service. You have any idea what it's like to have 1700 kids repeatedly thank you all day long? Repeatedly because sure as shootin' (lol) some kid is going to forget what he or she said at 0800 by the time lunch rolls around! It was pretty awesome. Better than (I think) walking in a parade in uniform.
Wow, that’s wonderful! Especially knowing that the children understood and that whoever organized it did, too.
Too bad they only put on this face - once a year.
For those that have never been there, no explanation is possible.....for those that have, no explanation is needed.
Rest easy, stay safe .....ya earned every second.
A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount of up to and including his life.
That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.
Your post was stunning!! Thank you.
Couldn’t happen to a better group.....:o)
I remember coming home thru Travis AFB in 1974 having to change my uniform before I was allowed off the base to go back home on leave. I felt like I was a convict.
Then in 91 when returning from Desert Storm......A 180 in reception from folks here in the USA. I was hugged and greeted by thousands in Bangor Maine, Philly Airport, Denver and Albuquerque....... I cried. Feeling was unbelievable ......I cried for all those men and women before me and with me that have more pride and self worth than anyone I know.
And now this nation is trying to elect as president those who enjoyed treating vets that way then and now.......
Stay safe and I am so jealous of your day in the sun with all those students my friend !
Too cool !
Ya done good !
Suck it up , drop and give me 20 !
How wonderful, thank you for sharing your day with us.
That you deserved it, can’t be said often enough.
Nor, can I say “Thank you for serving”, to all of you often enough.
I was thinking of you all this morning, in the last hour of the
John Rothman program on kgo.com, you can still get it on the computer pod cast......I think.
He had on the author of a WW2 book, a David Israel, who wrote
“The Thunderbird Cried”, it is the stories that are untold from WW2, of the men and officers who lived them.
It is a book, written by the man who was there, so most of you will never know the book exists.
I was glad that I managed to hear it on my radio.
This is the website for the book:
May God keep all of you safe, those of our history and those of our future.