America In Uniform--a Tribute To All Who Serve Or Have Served Our Country

  1. Twenty-some years ago before he married my mom
    and they started a family, my father moved to the
    small town where I grew up. His daily routine
    came to include sitting down for coffee at a
    local restaurant before work in the mornings,
    where he came to share many mornings with those
    who eventually became dear friends.
    One of the men, who shall remain nameless
    simply because he does not know I am writing to
    you, had served some time in Vietnam. During his
    tour, this man stepped on a land mine as a
    Sargeant. He lost his leg. Only on rare occasion
    during their 20 years of friendship has this man
    spoken of his Army days to my dad, but nonetheless
    he has left a lasting impression. You see, my
    parents and this man and his wife all went to a
    fair together when the other couple had a young
    son. When it came time to leave, it was raining.
    People were running to their cars. A young boy
    though, held his father's hand, and they walked.
    Such a simple thing, running through the rain,
    only when you sacrifice a leg for your country,
    that is a privilege you do not have.
    My dad will never forget that image of a
    son walking with his father, getting soaked,
    while everyone around them runs for shelter.
    Even though I was not there, I will forever have
    this image embedded in my mind as well. Once in
    conversation when he did share about his
    experiences in Vietnam, my father thanked this
    humble yet respected man for his sacrifices
    and time. After all that time, and all those
    years, no one had ever said thank you. When they
    had come home from Nam, people threw bricks at
    them and spit upon them...but no one said thank
    you, and no one had since. I know my dad's
    genuine appreciation and thank you meant
    something to him.
    All this is to simply say that we must not
    forget. We must not forget that even when our
    Marines, our Soldiers, our Sailors, and everyone
    else who serves this country comes home, their
    troubles are not over. We run to our cars when it
    rains, but they do not. They have given us that
    ability to run, in order that they may walk
    through the puddles and come home soaking wet.
    Their sons and daughters hold their hands as the
    world swirls about them seeking shelter... Some
    lose legs, some lost arms, or sanity, or
    innocence, or a number of other things that we
    cannot see. So when we meet someone in an airport
    or a mall, and we know they have served or are
    currently serving the USA, instead of thinking,
    "they've been thanked," we need to remember those
    who have waited 20 years before someone has
    said those words of gratefulness, and we must
    remember that some have waited even longer. They
    have not all been thanked, and two thank-you's
    never hurt anyone. It's the least we can do for
    the ability, the freedom, and the strength
    to "run in the rain," and do all the other
    things which we are allowed to do because of
    that same gift of sacrifice.
  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   Katnip
    So right, Frances.
  4. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Absolutely beautiful, Frances.
  5. by   warrior woman
    A special shout out should also go out to all the medical personnel in the armed services who have the challenging job of trying to make whole, what combat has torn apart.