Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Belated wishes

Due to circumstances beyond my control (otherwise called "Life"), I was not able to make a couple of posts this weekend that I wanted to.

First of all, November 10th was the birthday of the United States Marine Corps, and I want to wish all Marines a (belated) Happy Birthday! I'm a Navy vet, and although I've indulged in the usual teasing of the Navy's sister service - and got back as good as I gave (and sometimes better, I'll admit) - I have the deepest respect for the men and women of our Corps. Many times they are the first to go into harm's way, and they do so unhesitatingly, to protect the freedoms we hold so dear, as well as to put themselves between innocents of other nations and those who wish to do them harm. If you ask them why they do that, more often than not you'll get the response back of, "It's what we do!". For that, I will always be deeply grateful.

To the men and women of the United States Marine Corps - Semper Fi! May we who you protect be as faithful to you, as you are to us.

Secondly, November 11th was Veteran's Day. Originally known as Armistice Day, to commemorate the ending - on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month - of the "War to end all wars", now known to us as WWI. We all know that it wasn't "the war to end all wars", and because of that, the name was changed to Veteran's Day, in order to honor those who served in the military.

As I stated above, I'm a Navy vet, and my brother (Dither) is an Army vet. Neither of us run around yelling out that fact, demanding that people kowtow to us because of our "status". We aren't like that. We go about our daily lives trying to do the right thing while keeping a "low profile", lending a hand when we see a need without asking for, or expecting, "public adulation". Nope, not gonna happen.

Most other vets (there are always the attention hogs in every group) I know of are the same way. Quiet, humble, normal people, who just happened to have put on our nation's uniform for a spell, and then went back to civilian life, trying to be good citizens. If you happen to know any veteran's, surprise them by saying thanks, and watch their reaction. Some will get all flustered by the attention. Some will quietly say, "You're welcome.", while others will get contemplative, thinking back on the time they spent in the service and what that truly means.

And just what does that mean? It means sacrifice (something that a vast majority just don't get anymore, unfortunately).

The sacrifice of time away from family and friends, often in another country.
The sacrifice of being able to earn more money working in a civilian job.
The sacrifice of comfort, spending time in "the field", away from warm beds, hot showers, and hot meals. No Starbucks latte's, no Nintendo or Xbox360, no internet, no McDonalds, etc.
The sacrifice of not being in a place where you aren't scared that you're going to get hurt - badly - or worse.
Which brings us to the Ultimate Sacrifice - the giving of your life to protect an ideal, a cause, or simply just your buddies.

That's what sacrifice means, and those men and women who willingly put on the various uniforms of our nations Armed Forces know what they are sacrificing, and that they may be called upon to make the Ultimate Sacrifice, so that we may live in freedom and enjoy all those things they give up.

To all the men and women who have ever worn the uniforms of our nations Armed Forces, I say a very humble THANK YOU! Your sacrifices mean more to me than you will ever know.