Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I Salute You...
They lay in barren holes, their uniforms sand filled and hot. Temperatures exceeding 100 degrees in the deserts of foreign lands. Hands, fingernails layered with dirt and calluses.
They are loaded up at all times with packs and gear, enough to make even the lightest weighted man instantly gain 50 pounds. Their eyes tired from little to no sleep.
Sounds of silence mingled with the rumble of road side bombs and IEDs, hopeful at each sound not one of their own affected, that it was discovery and intentional detonation. The rapping of gunshots in small villages, ears ringing.
All concepts of their former life, replaced by photos, tattered and torn from frequent viewing. Letters crease-worn from repeated reading. Imagining the voices of their loved ones as they scroll though the words.
They miss out on birthdays, anniversaries. Their families and their own. No more counting down the days, hours and minutes until Friday. The weekend is not a respite for them. Every day melts into the next.
Tactical thought over takes the simplest of ideas. They sleep with one eye open. The once for granted meals of home, now fond memories as they wait for their leave. Brief stints home to see their families, or for it all to be over.
Bunks and barracks, makeshift shelters. No more the warmth and comfort of their familial bedding. No falling asleep in the arms of those they love. Tucking in their children before catching up on TV and falling into a deep and restful slumber.
They are soldiers, sailors, Marines. Pilots and infantry men and women. They fight for our freedoms. They put their lives on the line, every day, hour and minute. They travel the world and partake in conflicts that may not be theirs, but do so without complaint, they do so with honor and dignity.
They return home changed. Some for the better, other's affected more deeply. Wounded mentally and physically. Tired and worn, but proud nonetheless of the work they had done. The peaces they kept, or the battles they were forced to fight for their lives.
They give the ultimate sacrifices. Their lives at times for our freedoms. Their memory for our future.
Today we celebrate the 235 birthday of the United States Marine Corps, tomorrow as we honor ALL Veteran's of all wars, take the time to thank them. To be grateful everyday for what you have because of these men and women.
Boys and girls who leave their homes, their livelihoods as young as high school graduates, to enlist in the United States Military to serve their country. To fight for our freedoms and to keep our Nation what it is today. To give us hope that will spring eternal for all our lives, and for the future of our children.
I salute you all.
It is the
not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.
not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.
not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the
salutes the Flag,
under the Flag
I want to give an extra special salute to my Love. Thank you for your service to our country. Thank you for being an amazing man and an amazing father. Thank you for your love, your respect and your honor. You are my best friend. I love you. Semper Fi.