Veterans Honored, Those who Served paid a price.
1947 was a very good year for me and I really don’t remember it. It was a good year as I was born on July 4th of that year. I recall a good many things from my youth; Eisenhower was president when I was young. My family was very reminiscent of the war as my uncle had served as a side gunner in a B-17 and survived being shot down, He parachuted from what was to be a doomed airplane and landed in a German prison of war camp with his fellow side gunner. They of course were prisoners of war when they hit the ground. This is a story in itself and much was witnessed firsthand through the eyes of my uncle and his fellow companion in war and survival.
I also had an Uncle that was a medevac medic on a helicopter in the Korean War. Stories of his, in fact of both their experiences; are things movies are made of! Even then the whole of the account is not adequately explained or experienced by the viewer.
Then came my own personnel experience of Vietnam in the late sixties which involved many of my friends and acquaintance. Some of them, my best friend being one, did not come home. I was blessed and had a guardian angel at my stead all of the time. Some years later after I was settled into my life I came to know a friend we will just call Bill. He served in yet another war which was the first Gulf War. Since the first Gulf War there have been other and continuous ongoing wars without stop.
I give this brief history only to give perspective to my desire to Honor those who served and the families that endured, all with cost certain. I will mention some of the cost but first want to digress to my child hood.
When I was seven it was still called “Armistice Day” which became then “Veterans Day” as to Honor all who served in wars; not just those who served in World War One. You see, back after World War One they thought that the 1st World War was the war to end all wars. That had to be a political concept as any Spiritually astute individual knew in their heart this could not be true, Evil never stops trying to kill and destroy.
As I was between seven and say twelve years of age we had a different respect taught and held up than I see now. My first recollection of Armistice Day was to see a parade and fireworks in my home town. This was a small farm community with an Air Force military base only ten miles away. There were also fireworks and people gathered at the park. Back then we had an open air Dance floor in the park which was widely used by the community. For a few days prior to the Parade, the Dance and the Fireworks there would be Veterans on the street selling Poppies to raise funds for support of the veterans. Even as a little boy my parents made sure I had a little money to buy a Veterans Poppy with.
Back then anytime the Flag passed in review at a parade we all stopped in our tracks and saluted. We knew we were saluting a history of selfless sacrifice, an historic belief system and the many who had paid with all they had so we could stand in Freedom and be who we choose to be. A respect existed and was displayed by most everyone I knew and for a short time our differences were on hold as our common alliance to Freedom and Honor and Justice took center stage. We had fly buys and military bands that played Marching songs and churches and civic groups had an upbeat message of thanks giving both too the spiritual as we gave respectful thanks for the God Given Rights of Free Men and thanks to those had given their all, many of whom lay at rest in a foreign land. Presidents and politicians of every mind set gave honor and kind words to honor those fallen as well those still serving. I think it is because of moments of my youth, moments like these that; ” In Full Dress Parade as I passed in Command Review for departure to Vietnam I was crying as I marched and Saluted the Flag of these United States.
I miss those days, when Americans were not ashamed to be Americans. Days when we knew that regardless our faults we paid a heavy price to continue growing and becoming a better people. We did not apologize to the world for trying to set a higher bar and attempt to uplift the world. We had not allowed ourselves to be shamed in to apology for our Christian values and beliefs. As a people we, with the guidance of the God above could overcome the evil that was present in the world, in our country and in our lives. We actually believed in improving unashamedly the lives of those around us in spite of the selfish, self-serving and immoral people that were ever present in the world. Sadly, as I write this in the year 2014 many will read and wonder what mythical dream world I stepped out of. I am hopelessly lost in the romanticism of days past as I still believe the Old Values and the earlier Faith of Americans and Christians that came before me. I do not intend to give them up and submit myself to a political correct and thoughtless society that cannot think for itself. I Pray to the One God that has the world in His Hand and will not let his people be lost. He, the one that made me and all I see will be with me even unto the end of this meager life and beyond. This short vapor, this mist of life is only a foreshadow of that which is much greater. In my personal opinion, those that died, that fought, that sacrificed and stood the ground are far above the dissenters and antagonist of this hour that choose to denigrate and down play the ideals and foundations of our past. Those faults that we have and had are not the definitive narrative of who we are. It is the steps we have taken to overcome them that become our definition. It is the faith that we walk in that makes our presence brighter than the blight some try to discredit with. I look at the past and ask what the current critic will do with the evil that was and is present. I know a few of them, not many but a few. When the value of life, the respect of fellow men and the aspiration to higher ideals with real moral value diminish, then the future of man becomes very dark and foreboding. I do not want to promote it or participate in the culture that does.
You need be careful what you cast out or throw off from your Heritage for with it will come that which you usher in to replace it. My Uncle that was in prison camp landed with a fellow soldier who broke his legs on landing. The Germans were going to shoot him and my Uncle laid over him and begged for his life. He was allowed to live, the condition was simple, my Uncle had to care for him without medication or assistance. My Uncle set his legs and carried him on his back until he healed enough to walk. I just recovered from a broken foot; it takes at least eight weeks for broken bone to heal. These men endured two death marches and were nearly starved to death by the time the allies freed them from prison camp. For those who do not think the holocaust is real, these same two men saw the mass graves in the making. They witnessed the gas chambers as Israelis were stripped man woman and child and sent to the showers where they met their immediate death. They saw the furnaces/ovens where the dead were cremated. They saw people experimented on for so called scientific research and lamp shades and furniture made of tanned human skin. You need to be careful of the ideals you allow your nation to embrace as many died that you may choose.
My uncle who served in Korea could not haul the wounded from the field fast enough. They witnessed red hot and warped machine gun barrels as machine guns were fired nonstop as Chinese soldiers climbed over bodies five and six deep to continue attacking. Many attacked without weapons, as they would retrieve the weapons of those in front of them who died. Many soldiers burned their hands to the point of incapacity as they changed the barrels on the machine guns that defended their position. Pictures of death and destruction that never leave a man, they just get pushed down to a place where he can live with them.
My friend Bill was tortured and except by the grace of God would not be here today to enjoy his wife and family. He had to have a great deal of help to deal with mental scares of his war ordeal. There is nothing of respect for life or individual reprieve as evil deals with death and destruction. Again, you better be careful what values you allow your country to embrace, some of them will be your end not matter your original deception.
In my own experience I drove by the Da Nang Airport near daily and watched as the caskets by the hundreds were loaded on the airlift transports to be flown home to broken families which would never again be whole. My best friend came home that way, He is sorely missed and will forever be nineteen years of age in my mind. His family never conceived, the fiancé’s love never full filled and his parents, brothers and grandparents never satisfied at the loss of his life. For them I can only say that he died giving all he could to save the life of a fellow soldier as he was a medic. He died trying to retrieve another. Who we are and what we believe will be the cause of the choices we make. Be careful of the values and precepts you allow your country to assume!
Last but far from least; I want to pay respect and a humble prayer to those who had to leave it all along with the wounded and the dead. These are the mothers and fathers, the sisters and brothers, the wives or husbands and the children of the fallen. These will for all of their lives have an empty place in their heart, a blank space in their life and a memory of last moments. For some it will be a torment, some a vacancy that will not easily if ever be filled. Some will be thankful for their faith and look to future hope. Some, as the children will forever wonder who that person was and what they were like. They will wonder what life would have been with them present. Some where there is a woman that held a man in her arms and loved him, comforted him and never saw him again but she bore his child and the child now lives with his absence as does she. Evil does not respect life, it does not respect relationship, it does not know love, and it does not uplift or encourage anyone. It does not seek to comfort nor will it bring comfort to the broken. Only Love can do these things. My god, my Savior is in His very character; His very essence is the embodiment of Love. I have received it by his immutable Grace and pray it for you.
IN The Humblest way I know, I Pray for all those who served, I give thanks for all who endured and may God Bless You!