Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day: We Honor Our Men and Women Past and Present

A friend forwarded a chain email with compelling photos of military personnel interspersed with these words. I do not know who wrote these words, but I would like to share them with you:
Your cell phone is in your pocket.
He clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags.

You talk trash about your "buddies" that aren't with you.
He knows he may not see some of his buddies again.

You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls.
He patrols the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists.

You complain about how hot it is
He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow.

You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong.
He doesn't get to eat today.

Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes.
He wears the same things for weeks, but makes sure his weapons are clean.

You go to the mall and get your hair redone.
He doesn't have time to brush his teeth today.

You're angry because your class ran 5 minutes over.
He's told he will be held over an extra 2 months.

You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight.
He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home.

You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do every day.
He holds his letter close and smells his love's perfume.

You roll your eyes as a baby cries.
He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet.

You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything.
He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting.

You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of men like him.
He hears the gunfire, bombs and screams of the wounded.

You see only what the media wants you to see.
He sees the broken bodies lying around him.

You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don't.
He does exactly what he is told even if it puts his life in danger.

You stay at home and watch TV.
He takes whatever time he is given to call, write home, sleep, and eat.

You crawl into your soft bed, with down pillows, and get comfortable.
He tries to sleep but gets woken by mortars and helicopters all night long.
Last night I watched the first part of a PBS show on the Medal of Honor with interviews of some of the men still alive who received the Medal of Honor in WWII, Korea or Vietnam. (The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in battle bestowed by the U.S.) The five men who have received the Medal of Honor for fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan all received the award posthumously.

After a while I couldn't watch any more. What we as a country ask of the men and women who serve in the military is enormous. And so few of us who don't serve in the military understand this.

I hope today you'll take a few moments and say a personal thank you to all these men and women past and present. And then donate to your favorite military support organization. If you don't know of any, go to www.mrslieutenant.com/support.php for organizations that support military families and personnel.

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