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October 13, 2006

The Gift Of Freedom

Three nights ago, I had a dream.

I don't know why - very likely I was just overtired. In over twenty-five years this has never happened before, but there is a first time for everything.

I was sleeping, and then suddenly I wasn't. And there they were, standing on my doorstep in the dark; not wanting, really, to come in. Not wanting to tell me my husband would never be coming home again.

I don't remember a single thing after that moment, because time just.... stopped.

I wonder whether Patty Peterson felt that way? I didn't know Patty. Our lives never touched.

But the Marine Corps is an odd sort of family and several days ago that family came together over that bizarre superhighway called the Internet to honor a fallen comrade, to silently mourn yet another loss. But more importantly, to see whether there was anything left undone for his widow, a woman none of us had ever met, or were ever likely to. That is a ritual that plays out all too often these days. As JHD says, it never gets any easier.

As it turned out, there wasn't much we could do. As so often happens in life, our erstwhile caring was well meant but misguided. Mrs. Peterson, in the finest tradition of warrior wives since Thermopylae, had put aside her grief for the moment and was busy caring for others:

For all that Captain Peterson's family and loved ones said wonderful things about him, what was most outstanding about this funeral were the Marines themselves. We were all impressed by the last visitation before the funeral began. However, when one young Marine from Captain Peterson's unit came forward to talk, I was surprised and moved beyond anything I'd expected. This young Marine held a notecard with the condolence message from the unit written on it. It was his job to express what Captain Peterson's men wanted to say. He walked up to the podium, clenched and unclenched his jaw, kept adjusting his cap lower and lower, and then, finally, he just stood there. For what seemed like forever but was really closer to five minutes, the young man stood, unable to speak. Finally, he began in a rough voice which kept cracking. He had to stop a few times, and at one point his voice broke entirely. He coughed, wiped his nose and said,"Allergies". And then stood there trying to regain his composure. Finally, after starting and stopping and invoking 'allergies' again, Captain Peterson's widow walked up the stairs to the podium, placed her arm around his shoulders and clasped his hand with hers, and stood with him. After his speech was over, she walked back down with him, walked him to his seat, wiped his face with her handkerchief and went back to her seat. All, of course, without crying herself. Seeing this enormous act of compassion for another even on the day of her husband's funeral was more than we mere mortals could bear, and there was not a dry eye in the church. The other Marines were openly crying, and one, the man whom everyone saluted, had Kleenex in both hands, and kept using first one handful and then the other.

All funerals present the departed one in the best light possible. Everyone who dies has had a positive effect on those around him, at least according to the eulogies, whether or not it is true. However, Captain Peterson really was one of those men who seemed to leave a mark on everyone's life who knew him. His friends from high school openly wept. His best friend from university gave a speech about visiting Arlington National Cemetery with his friend Justin which made everyone in the church sit up just a little prouder and straighter. By the time the funeral was over, everyone was in tears but were also overwhelmed by what a caring and joyful family he'd grown up in. Still, the main themes were still love of family, love of country, loyalty to fellow Marines. That is no longer just a slogan to the Horsemen, something they've heard and read about. Now, that philosophy has a very real face - the face of Marine Captain Justin Peterson. Semper fi, Captain Peterson. The Horsemen all say "Oorah!"

In the coming years, Patty Peterson will no doubt have to answer a lot of questions asked by her children, by herself in the lonely hours of the night, by friends, family, by well meaning and not so well meaning strangers. What did Justin die for? Was it really "worth it"?

These questions can be difficult for any military wife. It may be easier to answer the question, "What did Justin live for?" What were the values he was willing to fight for, to bleed for, to be separated from the wife, sons, and baby daughter he loved more than life itself for, in order to ensure they did not perish from this earth? And that is the proper question, for no individual soldier can guarantee the end state for which he fights. That is a matter far above his pay grade.

When he loads up his gear, he knows only that the nation he serves has decided to take a stand in a world where all too many nations posture, and pontificate about freedom, and yet do nothing when push comes to shove. And yet, like Captain Peterson's funeral, if people like the Patriot Guard choose, instead of acting, to stand by and do nothing, if they are not willing to step up to the plate and defend the rights of peaceful people, the Fred Phelps of this world will quickly take over and chaos will reign. It is not enough to tut-tut, and disapprove, and condemn their actions. Someone needs to say, "Enough", and then do something about it.

But moral clarity is in short supply these days. In the warm and fuzzy world of the moral equivalence brigade, it seems not to matter whether one dies trying to free a foreign land from the grip of homicide bombers and honorless thugs who saw the heads off female aid workers or is killed while committing acts of incredible savagery against innocent civilians: killing is wrong/bad and those who do it must all be equally condemned.

Re "His Corps Value Was Bravery," Column One, Oct. 3

If an individual were to kill 11 people in house-to-house gang warfare in South Los Angeles, we wouldn't call him a hero; we'd call him a bloodthirsty, homicidal maniac. We would fear for the future of our city.

But when it's war, we nominate these individuals for one of the nation's highest honors. We spend several hundred billion dollars to send thousands of our young adults overseas so they can engage in this kind of behavior in someone else's country.

The 11 people we dismiss as insurgents are mourned by their own families, some of whom consider their actions a logical response to a foreign power occupying their land, while others grieve at the senselessness of it all.

The Times has shown its support for the troops, like we're all expected to do. But if Marine Pfc. Christopher Adlesperger had been a street gang member, we would have been subjected to articles explaining how we needed to provide alternatives to murderous organizations that provide a sense of belonging to its members.

T.C. PETERSON
Los Angeles

Once again, America shows its deep, fundamental unseriousness about any topic less shallow than the latest installment of Battlestar Galactica or what they can download onto their iPod. Thus are titanic struggles between civilizations reduced in the blink of an eye to "gang warfare". Don't think too much about it, TC. Reduce it to some meretricious analogy that allows unwanted information to bypass your frontal lobe altogether.

I often wonder what it's like, living in TC's world. Did he, for instance, consider this to be unbearably delicious social commentary?

ralljackass.gif

I understand some people do. But then they are the same people who don't quite "get" Chris Adlesperger. They will never "get" Justin Peterson.

And they will never understand that for some people, the gift of freedom is a pearl beyond price:

Among the things I cannot accept is exploiting the suffering of people to make gains that are not the least related to easing the suffering of those people. I’m talking here about those researchers who used the transparency and open doors of the new Iraq to come and count the drops of blood we shed.

Human flesh is abundant and all they have to do is call this hospital or that office to get the count of casualties, even more they can knock on doors and ask us one by one and we would answer because we’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.

We believe in what we’re struggling for and we are proud of our sacrifices.

I wonder if that research team was willing to go to North Korea or Libya and I think they wouldn’t have the guts to dare ask Saddam to let them in and investigate deaths under his regime.

No, they would’ve shit their pants the moment they set foot in Iraq and they would find themselves surrounded by the Mukhabarat men counting their breaths. However, maybe they would have the chance to receive a gift from the tyrant in exchange for painting a rosy picture about his rule.

They shamelessly made an auction of our blood, and it didn’t make a difference if the blood was shed by a bomb or a bullet or a heart attack because the bigger the count the more useful it becomes to attack this or that policy in a political race and the more useful it becomes in cheerleading for murderous tyrannical regimes.

[...]

Let those fools know that nothing will stop us from walking this road and nothing will stop our friends and allies from helping us reach safe shores. There’s simply no going back even if it cost us more and their fake statistics will not frighten us…our sacrifices, like I said, make us proud because our bloods are not digits in those ugly papers. Our sacrifices are paving the way for future generations to live the better life we couldn’t live.

I hate this war.

There is not a day that goes by, I don't think, when I don't think about how much I hate it, and the immense, soul-shattering suffering it has caused.

But do not mistake me for one instant, my support has never wavered.

Three nights ago in my dream, all I remember is feeling like a giant hand had squeezed my heart and all the air had suddenly been sucked out of my lungs, leaving me leaden and empty. I wanted to sink into the earth and let it swallow me forever.

Reading about Captain Peterson's funeral, I was suddenly swept back in time to the day the war became real for me; to a tiny chapel in southern California. To the sight of Marines I was used to seeing laughing, joking around in the gym, always cocky, full of themselves, suddenly overcome with grief.

Struggling not to break down.

And in my ears is the sound of a song that for years was associated with smoky barrooms and pool tables and laughter and a suddenly caught hand and a warm embrace:

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared
Beneath the stars above
For a moment
All the world was right
How could I have known
You'd ever say goodbye

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end
The way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss
The dance...

I can never hear that song now without tears springing to my eyes.

Because the image that is indelibly burned into my retinas is that of a Marine widow, lovely, fragile yet steely strong, bending over her husband's body. Fussing one last time with his dress blues, adjusting the damned stiff collar that never will lie just right. I have done that so many times....

And then gently kissing him and lowering the casket door.

Goodbye my love.

Goodbye.

Some people will never understand the gift of freedom. Not what they died for, but what these men and women lived for. But I do.

I do.

***************

Thanks to Linda for the Rall cartoon.

Yesterday, Linda, Jane, and Chrissie took a moment to remember those who died in the attack on the USS Cole.

Posted by Cassandra at October 13, 2006 04:59 AM

Comments

It is a a high thing, a bright honor, for a man to do battle with the enemy for the sake of his children, and for his land and his true wife; and death is a thing that will come when the spinning Destinies make it come.
Grecian lyric, 4th Century B.C.

And still there are tears.

Posted by: spd rdr at October 13, 2006 08:30 AM

Perfect.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 13, 2006 08:39 AM

I'm speechless.

Posted by: Greta at October 13, 2006 10:00 AM

There are times that I think that I am just a rube for giving so many years of my life preparing, watching, waiting. So many don't get it. I feel like saying, "I'm done! You can have the whole damn place."

your words are a pure sound in a cacaphony of noise, and it rings clear. A few get it.

Thanks

Posted by: oprockwell at October 13, 2006 11:59 AM

There was a tv show back in the 90's called "Babylon 5". Usually in the course of a show that I really like, there will be a line or a moment that sticks, for whatever reason, either in my head-- or heart. When Mah Huzzband loaded his gear and said good-bye in Jan. 2003, those lines (which had been hanging in the back of my mind like skinny clothes in your closet) came crashing through on the wet (I still don't call seeing a forecast for rain in Yuma that day) drive home. They helped me retain some of my sanity for the 7 months I didn't hear from him, and the final 2 months of "We don't know when we're coming home."

From "Babylon 5"--
""...they sure as hell didn't want to die. But they did it because (their commander) *told* them to do it, and because it was right."
"This time it is possible he could be wrong."
"Yeah, it's possible. But you don't follow an order because you know for sure it's gonna work out. You do what you are told, because your CO has the moral authority that says you may not come back. But the cause is just, and fair, and necessary."
-- Micheal Garibaldi to G'Kar

Posted by: Sly2017 at October 13, 2006 01:30 PM

There are times that I think that I am just a rube for giving so many years of my life preparing, watching, waiting.

I hope you know how many of us are so very grateful for what you do.

Because we do understand.

And we thank God every day, and every night for the life we have, and for the peace people like you make possible. It does matter, even though you may not always see it. So often we fail to stop and count our blessings; the blessings of freedom. We take them for granted, as our birthright, forgetting that they were purchased dearly in sweat and pain and blood and the nightmares of those who watched while we slept peacefully in our beds.

We have not forgotten. And even those who never set foot on a battlefield have made who we are and what we do possible, for they stood ready.

And it was only chance that they were never called.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 13, 2006 02:32 PM

War Is Hell!

I remember like it was yesterday when our young Marine came marching out on the parade deck of Parris Island sporting a brand new chevron proclaiming him a PFC in the United States Marine Corps! A merit stripe earned in the sand fleas and swamps of South Carolina. God how proud I was. I bet I stood a full two inches taller. His Mom squeezing my hand harder as his Training Battalion passed the stands. The tears of pride I enjoyed wiping from her cheeks. The virality, the strength, a man where a boy should stand. It was all there.

From that day forward our home became a staging area of sorts for the next four years and even now. Young Marines we met on that very same Parade Deck stopping in on their way one place or another knowing they would get a home cooked meal and lodging with others of their kind. After SOI they came in bunches, full of themselves, cocky, with the innate ability to use the F word as a noun, adjective, verb, adverb. All in the same sentence! Vulgar? Not for a minute. These are young men that enlisted in a time their country is at war, knowing full well what they were facing and where they were headed. They are young men "with the bark" on as the saying goes from my generation. Respectful to Mom and Sis to the max, loving them after minutes of meeting them. You could see the protection trait in them even then. The seriousness they held in their minds of what they were doing was embodied in their Moms and Sisters, Girlfriends and Fiancees, Wives and Daughters. A finer lot of young fire eaters you could never imagine!

The first deployment. A float into that blur we didn't understand as newbies called "Operation Southern Watch". OIF 1, 2, 3&4 combined. The goodbyes, the hellos, the world of roller coasters that is the Corps. Hurry up and wait. Deployment extended. Deployment shortened. Deployment day moved. Again. And again. Return date moved. Again. And again. The unbelievable insanity that is The Corps to those that have never dealt with Her. Agonizing. Slow. Then afterburner fast and they are gone. Then here. Sleep when? What is sleep? People offering condolences and understanding. For what? They do not know. They can only guess. Carry on. Face the day. Stay away from the news. DO. NOT. GO. NEAR. BEDWETTERS. Stay loose. Stay calm. Be the rock your Marine is and is counting on in you.

Bury your dead. Those bright eyes and bravado dressed in Marine cammies you knew and loved. Those young men that went to war with one of your own so full of purpose. Those young men that died not fighting for their country but instead for their Brother Marine next to them. Those young men that died fighting for their Moms, Sisters, Girlfriends, Wives, and Children. This is what protects a nation. This is what real Honor, Integrity, Duty is all about. You lose the first one and it destroys you. Rips your heart right out through your guts. Then another. And another. Then they come in bunches. Full scale battles head into insurgency, snipers, and IEDs. It's like you walk around in a daze for seven months at a clip. Fearing to go home and hear the news. Afraid of what will be in your inbox. Scared to check with all the other Marine parents going through the same thing. And yet? Through it all that same pride you felt on Graduation Day at P.I. courses through your veins and sustains your heart. You truly understand what type of young men these are and could shout it from the Mountain!

You busy yourself helping your kids in their daily lives. You watch your daughter grow through Club soccer, high school, and listen to the drivel that is the protected class when a Soccer Mom goes off on "George Bush's War". You look at this 30 pounds of overweight shoved into spandex screaming at refs, her daughter, your daughter, on the touches and you look over at your lovely little Bride sitting there calmly taking it all in. That little Woman with a body of a goddess sitting their calmly, the mother of four with a son in harm's way, and you smile at the sheer insanity of the protected. They do not understand and never will. They do not wake in the middle of the night thinking they heard the phone or the chime of a message hitting the inbox. Hoping, praying, trusting in God to bring her son back to her. Crying herself back to sleep and all you can do is hold on tight. No, you stand there and take it all in knowing these people are given the right vote to by men of your son's caliber and making sure to rein in any feelings that may be regurgitating to the tip of your tongue. Your daughter trots off the field, "Kris call Daddy?". No. Not today. Fourteen years old and scared to death for worry over her big brother. Her other brothers taking up the slack and the usual bickering non-existent during deployments. Everyone is almost holding their breath. Waiting. Nothing to do but wait!

They're home. You've died twenty-two times along with the parents of their Fallen Brothers. The pain never truly subsides. It never, ever gets easier. It is always there. The unbelievable underground support network that is the strength of The Corps takes care of you. And you it. The false emotions do not go into those places. Humanity is stripped bare where we dwell. Life is all about getting through it. Gold Star parents are worshipped. They are our rock stars. They are us if not by some deflection, SAPI plate, lucky turn when the IED blows the humvee to hell and back. They are Honor personified. The Marine Wives of the Fallen are our American Idols. They are Integrity, Strength, Life. They deserve the pillar we put them on and will always have our hearts. They are all that is Good. They are Sacrifice! God Bless 'em all!

You wait. Again. And again. There he is. Stepping off that damn slow bus. You can see the death in his eyes from where you stand. The Stare. The flatness and lack of emotion shines from the depths of what used to be the light. You take in everything at a glance. The skinny form where the beef used to be. The scars already healed. The stiffness of his walk and the sheer power that exudes from him. The unbelievable animal magnetism that screams his manhood. You take that in as you watch his Mom and Sis attack him in a hug. There was a tiny flicker of light forming his his eyes when he first spied them that has now become a full glow that threatens to light up the night. Happiness for the first time in awhile envelops him. You worry that that deadness will return and has it entered his very soul. Thoughts only of a dad. But that light! Ah, you know he will heal, you know he stands true, you know he is loved, and love heals all!

But most of all, you stand there while the women folk fuss over him and notice the numbers missing. You notice the ones that aren't here. You witness the ones that he saw last as he put them in the MEDEVAC broken and bleeding surround him and shout to the rooftops with hilarity. You see the bond of real men and real brotherhood staring at you in the face. You stand there and remember that Pride from Parris Island and it washes over you anew! Then it is your turn and that young Marine walks up to you, shakes your hand looking you dead in the eye, and tells you he is home. There are no words to describe the Pride a dad has for his Son at that time. No words can do it justice. The pain he knows I carry for his Fallen Brothers because he carries it too. Were it I could carry his burdens and he understands. The meeting of a dad and his Son. The same as it's been throughout history. Two men that believe in one another.

Yeah, half the folks in this great nation that these young men and women sacrifice for will never, ever "get it". I will also never, ever stand down in their stead either. My strength is much greater than theirs. Mine was forged in the fires of Hell! Their's given them by men and women they will never understand.

Get it?

I do. We do!
Fair Winds and Following Seas!

Posted by: JHD at October 13, 2006 08:18 PM

You know JHD old son, it's bad enough when my readers out-write me in the COMMENTS SECTION of one of my posts....

But when one of my readers OUTWRITES ME WHEN HE IS RUNNING A FEVER AND HAS BEEN SICK FOR DAYS... well that is just pathetic.

I thought we were friends? :)

Posted by: Cassandra at October 13, 2006 08:39 PM

I blame it on the drugs!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it! ;-)

God how I love these young men and women! EACH. AND. EVERY. ONE. OF. THEM.! :-)

Wonder what happens if you mix anti-biotics with a hot rum toddy? Gettin' ready to find out! BBWWWAAAAA!

Posted by: JHD at October 13, 2006 08:52 PM

Ummm...you start having fantasies about two M...

Oh. That was *before* the rum.

Nevermind.

/high fiving Carrie and running like hell

Posted by: Cassandra at October 13, 2006 08:57 PM

JHD,

Thanks. Thanks for everything.
Thanks for your son, standing tall for all of us, and his brothers in arms, the quick and the dead. Thanks for putting into words what has to be so gut wrenching; the love and pride and worry of a father with a son in harm's way.

If the time ever comes, I hope I can be as proud of my sons as you are of Kris.

Vaya con Dios, always

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at October 13, 2006 09:05 PM

Trials and tribulations eh Don? Heh! It's the Pride that carries us through! :-)

It is something that is so extremely hard to write about. I honestly don't understand it all myself. So simple yet so damned complex all rolled into one. And the stuff I missed, left out unintentionally. Just so much to filter and remember.

The biggest being the Wounded. All the young Marines missing chunks of themselves and the love that carries them through each and every day when it seems the whole world has forgotten. Hundreds of them. I remember a time when a bunch came home and the long night I spent listening to the nightmares. Not one escaping the malady. Yet in the cold light of day it was as if they never were. All of them dinged, hit, missing pieces but nothing but a thing. And the stories! heh!

Ah, the stories. I learned more about my own son from his buddies because he didn't feel he was ever doing more that his part. His job. You know, just being a Marine. Stories like him giving his Wounded Brothers his lifeblood, his strength, to keep them from bleeding out on the spot. And then seeing them kickin' around waiting on the BN's return. Living the Life of Reilly with hot chow and stuff! The kidding that takes place then will keep you in smiles for a lifetime!

There's just so much. So much. One of these days I'm going to try and write it all down before senility totally takes over my mind! (no comments from the peanut gallery or I WILL go back to my fetish dreams and you'll both be in big trouble!) ;-)

Thanks Don, I always know you are one of the ones that "get it" and for that I thank you right back!
S/F

Posted by: JHD at October 13, 2006 10:01 PM

No comments...for now.

Posted by: The Peanut Gallery at October 13, 2006 11:35 PM

Get it?

I try. Words fail me, but I feel it in my soul--the honor, the pride, the pain, the knowledge that I am indebted beyond description...

Posted by: FbL at October 14, 2006 01:39 AM

God Bless JHD and your family! That was incredible...words cannot do it justice...

Thanks to you, your family and your son. Because of your son and all like him my children sleep safe in their beds tonight - my gratitude can never be properly expressed...your wife has the strength of all of us moms out here to call on...Thank you Thank you Thank you...

Posted by: Elizabeth at October 14, 2006 01:50 AM

Thank you. There's nothing else to be said.

Posted by: KG at October 14, 2006 02:03 AM

Thank you. Thank you.

Posted by: MentalFloss at October 14, 2006 02:13 AM

Thank all of you, so much, for stopping by, and leaving your thoughts. Words so often fail me too, or they fail to convey what was in my heart.

There are times when nothing seems adequate when measured against what has been given on our behalf. But words are all we have to offer, so we try, knowing they won't quite measure up. But they will still bear witness that we got it, and in the end I think perhaps that is all that matters. Someone needs to keep saying it over and over to counteract all those who so visibly don't understand.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 14, 2006 07:53 AM

I followed Blackfive's link here.

Incredible writing by Cassandra and JHD. Tears just streaming down my face here.

I've always maintained that the families of the servicemen and women are heroes also. This post and JHD's comments just showed me how true that is.

I have absolutely nothing but respect for all who serve. I try to show that by sending things to the troops. Seems so inadequate, but it's all I can do.

Thank you. (again, inadequate. . . .)

Posted by: Tracy at October 14, 2006 12:11 PM

26 years active duty, 200+ combat missions in Southeast Asia, cynical old fart, left speechless by this post and the comments. I can't tell you how proud I am of this generation of warriors. God bless our troops. God bless their families for giving them to us.

Posted by: Larry (USAF ret) at October 14, 2006 02:51 PM

Jeez, these fine young warfighters and their equally tough families, just stirs my emotions beyond belief.
I know these guys are having a helluva time with the 10,000 mile screwdriver-unfortunately, some things don't change.
I hate that we didn't finish the job when we were there.
But I take an energy displayed by those who are described here that at once drives a flood of tears and a tsunami of pride for the family that is the US Marine Corps. Thank you, Cassandra and JHD.
Semper Fidelis!
SGT USMC
81-93


Posted by: Albert at October 14, 2006 06:40 PM

I've got to stop reading these things at work. I can't answer the phone.



I have one thing to say. It starts with a quote:



"Tell them of us and say, for their tomorrow we gave our today." The Kohima Epitaph.



Thanks to you warriors who have fought, bled, and, yes, even died. Thank you for suffering through the things you've seen, in the hope that someone else won't have to. Thank you to the warriors (such as myself)who volunteered for the life, but never heard a shot fired in anger. And, thank you to the families who have given your young boys and girls--giving up your time and dreams and tears for others. There are not enough words of praise for what you do and give.



Tango Mike (thanks much).

Posted by: Coach Mark at October 14, 2006 09:29 PM

We owe so much to those who stand on the wall and "Watch the Night." The military, the police, the fire fighters, the emergency medical workers, yet it is so amazing how doing something so simple as walking up to them, offering your hand, and saying something so inadequately weak as "Thank you," will light up their faces. I am in awe, and gratefull for them all.

Posted by: Outpost37 at October 15, 2006 03:33 AM

Sitting here with tears. What beautiful writing, Cassandra and JHD. I can't even type anymore. Thank you.

Posted by: laurie at October 15, 2006 09:54 AM

I followed the link from Blackfive. And on this peaceful Sunday morning as I prepare for my radio program tonight, I know that I will be sharing this with my listeners in Central Florida and on the net stream.

We produce and host six shows a week, and end every one of them asking our listeners to pray for our men and women in harm's way, and for their loved ones who await their safe return.

Our prayers and heartfelt gratitude are for you and all who serve. God bless you.

Andrea Shea King and Mark Vance
The Radio Patriots
ASKShow.com
CPRradio.com
RadioPatriot.blogspot.com

Posted by: Radio Patriots at October 15, 2006 11:49 AM

yet it is so amazing how doing something so simple as walking up to them, offering your hand, and saying something so inadequately weak as "Thank you," will light up their faces

I hear that a lot from people - they are so happy to hear that someone appreciates what they do.

Truly, you can't say it enough. They don't expect it, but still, it is nice to hear.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 15, 2006 05:47 PM

JHD,
I hope we do as well. For now, whenever we see a veteran, we shake his/her hand and tell them thank you. Thank you for being on the ramparts, for standing watch. For being an example of Honor, Duty, Loyalty and all the other words that mean Protecting Home and Family.

You hug that young man and his brothers in arms from all of us here at Chez Engineer. The Engineer's time is past, and he is glad to see that the line stands firm with this new generation.

Posted by: Cricket at October 15, 2006 06:35 PM

Thank you Cassandra and JHD. Tears falling freely, but my gratitude makes me type.
And thank you to all the military who read this.

And for those who are not sure about approaching a military person? Try it, and for a simple thank you, you will be rewarded by a smile. The tough expression melts into a warm gaze. Truly, it is a small gesture, but I have had some of the best conversations and met some amazing people. (And of course, if you are able, buy them a beverage!!!)

Just hoping to be worthy of their sacrifices, in some small way...


Posted by: jck at October 15, 2006 08:43 PM

OMG, all I can manage is a huge thank you to you both....cannot see to type.

Posted by: Maggie45 at October 16, 2006 03:22 PM

Andrea Shea-King talked about your site on her radio show today and specifically spoke of Jarhead Dad's comment.

My heart swells with pride and a depth of gratitude I cannot describe when I see our young men and women in uniform. I thank God that I live in an area where patriotism and military are encouraged and appreciated.

My utmost gratitude to all those whose hearts and souls are with and in the military!

Posted by: Anna at October 16, 2006 04:58 PM

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