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    Default In honor of all veterans

    I'm compelled to re-post two parts of an old project, which was a collaboration between myself and CSM who has now passed. First posted at our old house early 2000s and here in 2007.

    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 alloy forged in the refinery of

    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.

    So, what is a vet?

    He's 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's 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's the POW who went away one person and came back another...
    or didn't come back at all.

    He's 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's the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and
    medals with a prosthetic hand.

    He's the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals
    pass him by.

    He's 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's the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket, palsied
    now and aggravatingly slow, who helped liberate a Nazi death camp
    and who wished all day long that his wife were still alive to
    hold him when the nightmares come.

    He's an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being, a person
    who offered some of this 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's a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness,
    and he's 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 so much, "Thank You!"

    It's the soldier, sailor, marine and airman, not the reporter,
    who has given us freedom of the press.

    It's the soldier, sailor, marine and airman, not the campus
    organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

    It is the soldier, sailor, marine and airman, who salute the
    flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by
    the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.

    - Anonymous

    Veterans Day
    By CSM

    Another Veterans Day just like many others has arrived. There will
    be flags, parades, and poems honoring vets everywhere that will bring a tear
    to the eye and a swelling of pride to the heart. Some older folks will don
    their old uniform, perhaps for the last time, straighten up their crooked
    backs, and haltingly shuffle out into public. Some younger folks will
    squeeze themselves into a not so old uniform that is just a wee bit too
    small for them anymore but still gives a fair representation of that young
    Marine, Soldier, Airman, or Sailor that so recently finished his or her
    hitch. There will be others who are serving still, who will form ranks and
    march down Main Street to martial tunes played by the high school band along
    with the old and not so old vet. Proudly they will pass by, carrying flags
    and banners, wearing patches and symbols that designate a forgotten unit or
    battle in a war long over, or of even more recent events in far off lands.
    There will be even more vets who, for whatever reason, will keep a low
    profile. They will not march in any parades or wear any uniform. They will
    not hear the poems and praise being broadcast in their honor. Yet they too,
    will stand a little straighter and a little taller on this day. They too
    will have that small gleam in their eye, that little spark, by which every
    veteran, no matter his age, is marked as having served.

    The older vets will look back and see the younger vets arrayed behind them
    and grunt with satisfaction that they are leaving the country in good hands.
    The younger vets will look ahead and see the older vets in front and,
    perhaps with just a bit of awe, determine to carry on as they did. Those
    younger vets will also look behind them and see those still serving, and
    think that they too leave the country in good hands. Those still serving
    will see the old and not so old vets in front of them, and perhaps with the
    same sense of awe, will determine that their generation will do as well or
    better as those in front of them. All, the young and old alike, will
    remember those who were like them, yet gave more in their service. Many will
    shed a tear or two for their lost comrades, and render that mental salute
    reserved for those who gave full measure. Each and every one of them will
    get that little tug at their heart when TAPS is played and the salute fired.
    Then they will go home or back to their barracks and be themselves once
    more, to be just as they have always been on every other day of the year.

    Ladies and gentlemen, those veterans we seek to honor today did not serve
    for glory. They did not serve for money. They did not serve position or
    power. They served for ideals that some consider politically incorrect in
    this day and age. They served for us, this country, and its people. You do
    not have to heap praise on them, you do not have to throw flowers or money.
    You do not have to genuflect before them or even shake their hands. In fact,
    they do not ask for anything. They hope, however, that you will say "Thank you".

    Have a nice Veterans Day, guys....SALUTE!!

    Mr. P

    ******When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep? ~George Canning******

    Above the Best

    Why the Hell should I have to press ď1Ē for ENGLISH?

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  3. #2
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    Thanks Mr. P, loved those. Here's one I still remember my dad reading to my brother and I at the kitchen table, many years ago:

    The Best Veterans Day Column By The Late, Great (and Vet) Mike RoykoWednesday, November 11, 2015
    "A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards." - Theodore Roosevelt

    Again this year (sort of a Veterans Day tradition), I wanted to offer up my favorite Veterans Day article from the late, great Mike Royko (1932 - 1997) who penned it in 1993. I don't care if you were a paratrooper, cook, medic, grunt, pilot, or ran the laundry and bath point, you have my thanks for serving our country.

    I think Mike's got the right idea about how to celebrate Veterans Day, GI-Style:

    I just phoned six friends and asked them what they will be doing on Monday.

    They all said the same thing: working.

    Me, too.

    There is something else we share. We are all military veterans.

    And there is a third thing we have in common. We are not employees of the federal government, state government, county government, municipal government, the Postal Service, the courts, banks, or S & Ls, and we donít teach school.

    If we did, we would be among the many millions of people who will spend Monday goofing off.

    Which is why it is about time Congress revised the ridiculous terms of Veterans Day as a national holiday.

    The purpose of Veterans Day is to honor all veterans.

    So how does this country honor them?...

    ...By letting the veterans, the majority of whom work in the private sector, spend the day at their jobs so they can pay taxes that permit millions of non-veterans to get paid for doing nothing.

    As my friend Harry put it:

    "First I went through basic training. Then infantry school. Then I got on a crowded, stinking troop ship that took 23 days to get from San Francisco to Japan. We went through a storm that had 90 percent of the guys on the ship throwing up for a week.

    "Then I rode a beat-up transport plane from Japan to Korea, and it almost went down in the drink. I think the pilot was drunk.

    "When I got to Korea, I was lucky. The war ended seven months after I got there, and I didnít kill anybody and nobody killed me.

    "But it was still a miserable experience. Then when my tour was over, I got on another troop ship and it took 21 stinking days to cross the Pacific.

    "When I got home on leave, one of the older guys at the neighborhood bar ó he was a World War II vet ó told me I was a ----head because we didnít win, we only got a tie.

    "So now on Veterans Day I get up in the morning and go down to the office and work.

    "You know what my nephew does? He sleeps in. Thatís because he works for the state.

    "And do you know what he did during the Vietnam War? He ducked the draft by getting a job teaching at an inner-city school.

    "Now, is that a raw deal or what?"

    Of course thatís a raw deal. So I propose that the members of Congress revise Veterans Day to provide the following:

    - All veterans ó and only veterans ó should have the day off from work. It doesnít matter if they were combat heroes or stateside clerk-typists.

    Anybody who went through basic training and was awakened before dawn by a red-neck drill sergeant who bellowed: "Drop your whatsis and grab your socks and fall out on the road," is entitled.

    - Those veterans who wish to march in parades, make speeches or listen to speeches can do so. But for those who donít, all local gambling laws should be suspended for the day to permit vets to gather in taverns, pull a couple of tables together and spend the day playing poker, blackjack, craps, drinking and telling lewd lies about lewd experiences with lewd women. All bar prices should be rolled back to enlisted menís club prices, Officers can pay the going rate, the stiffs.

    - All anti-smoking laws will be suspended for Veterans Day. The same hold for all misdemeanor laws pertaining to disorderly conduct, non-felonious brawling, leering, gawking and any other gross and disgusting public behavior that does not harm another individual.

    - It will be a treasonable offense for any spouse or live-in girlfriend (or boyfriend, if it applies) to utter the dreaded words: "What time will you be home tonight?"

    - Anyone caught posing as a veteran will be required to eat a triple portion of chipped beef on toast, with Spam on the side, and spend the day watching a chaplain present a color-slide presentation on the horrors of VD.

    - Regardless of how high his office, no politician who had the opportunity to serve in the military, but didnít, will be allowed to make a patriotic speech, appear on TV, or poke his nose out of his office for the entire day.

    Any politician who defies this ban will be required to spend 12 hours wearing headphones and listening to tapes of President Clinton explaining his deferments.

    Now, deal the cards and pass the tequila.

    - Mike Royko

    "The government is a child that has found their parents credit card, and spends knowing that they never have to reconcile the bill with their own money"-Shannon Churchill

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