Every time Veteran's Day rolls around I cannot help but think of the boy who went off to war in 1967, not because he had to, but because he joined the effort. Walde, my step father, ended up in 2nd platoon 3rd squadron 4th calvary 25 infantry division. He was on a tank and did all the jobs associated with it. During his first tour he would end up saving a commanding officer, and being injured so badly that he would end up needing to be rehabilitated to walk again. His service was not just about bravery, but duty! His duty was not celebrated upon his return home. His duty left lingering health issues, the loss of friends, and a lifetime of nightmares. I appreciate his service, his bravery, his duty! I appreciate his love for country! I appreciate the ways in which he allowed the experiences (or horrors) of Vietnam to shape him into a man that works hard, loves his wife, and serves others in many different ways. Chances are most of us, if not all of us know a veteran of a foreign war. Chances are that half of you that read this abhor war. Chances are we don't agree on politics or war. The point today is not to weigh down others with our views and frustrations regarding government. Today is a day to celebrate the fact that men and women all over our country honor us by serving our country in a special way. Today I celebrate my step-father and his service, bravery, and duty. I wish for his sake that he didn't have to face the horrors of war. I wish there was no need for such sacrifice. However, I'm proud of who he was, is, and will be. I'm happy that my boys have met and will get to know such a wonderful man. To all of those who have served our country, THANK YOU! Happy Veteran's Day!
Thank You Grandaddy -Retired Colonel for USAF
Thank You David Micheletti - US Navy
The Unknown Soldier
BY MELVIN B. TOLSON
I was a minuteman at Concord Bridge,
I was a frigate-gunner on Lake Erie,
I was a mortarman at Stony Ridge,
I fought at San Juan Hill and Château Thierry,
I braved Corregidor and the Arctic Sea:
The index finger brings democracy.
These States bred freedom in and in my bone--
Old as the new testament of Plymouth Bay.
When the Founding Fathers laid the Cornerstone
And rued the thirteen clocks that would not say
The hour on the hour, I nerved myself with them
Under the noose in the hand of the tyrant’s whim.
I’ve seen the alien ships of destiny
Plow the sea mountains between the hemispheres.
I’ve seen the Gulf Stream of our history
Littered with derelicts of corsair careers.
I’ve heard the watchman cry, “The bars! The bars!”
When midnight held the funeral of stars.
I saw horizontal States grow vertical,
From Plymouth Harbor to the Golden Gate,
Till wedged against skyscapes empyreal
Their glories elbowed the decrees of fate.
These States bred freedom in and in my bone:
I hymn their virtues and their sins atone.
The tares and wheat grow in the self-same field,
The rose and thorn companion on the bush,
The gold and gravel cuddle in the yield,
The oil and grit and dirt together gush.
The Gordian knot to be or not to be
Snares not the free.
My faith props the tomorrows, for I know
The roots of liberty, tough-fibered, feed
On the blood of tyrants and martyrs; the judas blow
Tortures the branches till they twist and bleed;
And yet no Caesar, vitamined on loot,
Can liberty uproot!
I am the Unknown Soldier: I open doors
To the Rights of Man, letters incarnadine.
These shrines of freedom are mine as well as yours;
These ashes of freemen yours as well as mine.
My troubled ghost shall haunt These States, nor cease
Till the global war becomes a global peace.