Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Thought On Veterans Day 2012

(A Re-Post Thanks To Kaydee Hirsch.  I accidentally deleted this and she still had it in her reader.)

This is kinda long, Peeps, but it has been on my mind lately. Bear with me.

November 11th, what we now call "Veterans Day," was originally called “Armistice Day.” It celebrated the end of World War I, when the guns fell silent across the Western Front on the 11th Month, 11thday, on the 11th hour of 1918. It is not a day to celebrate war, but to celebrate peace--and remember those who fought and died for it. I want to take this opportunity, as a veteran, to remember and to help those who enjoy this hard-fought peace to understand.

Those who have served in the military know what it is like to do a job that is extremely difficult and dangerous; no matter if they are in combat, a war zone or serving peace time. I know 74 brave young men who were combat veterans who lost their lives just outside the boundary slated as the combat zone of Vietnam. They fought hard with close-in artillery support of a group of Marines and Army guys, yet were killed in an accidental collision with another ship. That 50 miles has kept their name off The Wall…to save the Navy from admitting…what? The Navy didn’t do anything. Those young sailors did. And died for it.

Those who served know that they do more work by 9:00 a.m. than most people do in civilian life all day long. Yet they have no time clock to punch, just the NCO telling them when to start and when to stop. There are no unions, shop stewards or scheduled breaks. No OSHA pimps looking over their shoulders … no need too. They KNOW their job and how to do it.

Those who served know what it is like to crawl through mud, dust, sand, and snow. They know how to perform while carrying 80 to 100 lbs. on their person. They know hot and they know cold. They know what it's like to live 24/7 on a rolling ship at sea in all kinds of weather. They know how to hold a tray level and eat with one hand while talking about the watch coming up or the girlfriend/wife at home.

Those who serve have no problem dropping trow and taking a crap in the open with their flanks covered by their ‘brothers.’ The will hold that same man while he cries over a lost friend. Or cuss him for snoring too loud or just because of his last name or any other reason just to relieve boredom.

And those who served know how many perceive them, and feel it is because they are ashamed they were not brave enough to have stepped up. Those types know they are in the presence of America’s Best.

It has always been this way.

Rudyard Kipling, the Poet Laureate of England in the Victorian Days, said it best in a poem, “Tommy”:
“I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint of beer,
The publican he ups and says “we serve no red coats here.”
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed and giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
· Oh it’s Tommy this and Tommy that, an’ Tommy, go away”
· But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play—
“I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but hadn’t none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music halls,
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! They’ll shove me in the stalls!
· But it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”;
· But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the troopship’s on the tide.”
Yes, makin’ mock o’uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
· Then it’s Tommy this, and Tommy that, an “Tommy ow’s your soul?”
· But it “Thin red line of heroes when the drums begin to roll.”
We aren’t no thin red heroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
But single men in barracks, most remarkable, like you;
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barracks don’t grow into plaster saints;
· While it’s Tommy this and Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind”
· But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir,” when there’s trouble in the wind.
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “Saviour of his country” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ Anything you please;
An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool—you bet that Tommy sees!"

Yet, you try to thank any veteran and more than likely he/she will tell you, “No need to thank me, I just served.” Because we did our job every day to ad nauseam, we feel we did nothing special. Now there are those few, those proud men who faced danger at its worse. They bear the scars, both visible and unseen, which rightly deserve our thanks. The rest of us feel kind of funny for just doing what the country needed at the time.

But because we did do our time and did go through the training, did do our jobs and did come home or made a career, those guys and gals deserve your thanks…except me. I didn’t do anything.

Thanks for hanging in till the end.


lotta joy said...

At church today there was one old man standing proudly in his full dress uniform. The congregation is old, and there were a lot of members who stood as their particular song was sung.

I felt like crying, because only they know what it is to SERVE America. That is long gone. There are people training their children to EXPECT, but no one is training their children to SERVE.

I also knew the only answer for America is to vote a serviceman into the presidential office, but where can you find one that would at least fit into the time frame for the age requirement.

Coffeypot said...

I, too, see those WWII and Korean vets and wonder, in awe, what the say and lived through. Amazing men.

Old NFO said...

Good one CP, and a LOT better than what I put up... sigh

Coffeypot said...

O NFO, Don't even thing about sighing. You always have an awesome blog. I'm just appreciative that you drop by here. Now carry on...