We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I was just looking at the Memorial Day commemoration events around San Diego, mostly put on by veterans groups, and featuring speeches by politicians most of whom are there because elections come soon.
But, if you go to one, or are at some other event where Memorial Day is mentioned, look at the veterans who are there, especially those who served in a war. They are glad to be alive, sad to have lost comrades, quiet in their thoughts. It’s difficult to share with those who haven’t experienced it.
Here’s a letter from a young Marine who lost two limbs who attended a Marine reunion in Florida. It speaks to the bond among us, forged in duty, honor, country, forged in courage and sacrifice, forged in fun when we could. Across years, across generations, across wars, across miles, war veterans keep in touch with each other. How many of your school chums have you kept in touch with?Far fewer, I’m sure.
It also speaks to that, thanks to better medicine and logistics, far, far fewer die from combat wounds today, but many suffered grievous wounds. If we are to match their spirit and guts, please remember to contribute to the various wounded warrior charities.
Keep reading his letter:
Hey whatsup, Marines? This is Lance Corporal Simone, one of the Marines from First Battalion Sixth Marines that you guys invited to be guests at your reunion and memorial.
I cannot express how awesome it was to be involved in your ceremonies and memorial.It was humbling meeting you guys.You all showed us appreciation for our service, despite the fact that all of us felt humbled to even be in your presence.Personally I didn't even feel like I rated to talk to you guys.When I got back to Camp Lejeune, that night at the barracks, I was hanging out with all of the other Marines in my platoon, and I told them some of the war stories that you guys told me.They sat there with their mouths wide open, in awe of how much crazy shit you guys went through. I told them about Ralph Diaz, Larry Smedley, and meeting Doc Ingram.We all thought about how these Marines embodied the core values of the Marine Corps.As Doc Ingram told us when we were down there, "It's not about you, it's about the team."I've never felt more motivated to be a United States Marine then when I spent those three days in Florida with you salty old Marines.
The way I see it, you guys are our legacy.You guys were saying it when I was down there.You used to live in a barracks with all your other 18/19 year old buddies.You used to go out in Jacksonville and try and chase chicks and what not, and then when the time came to go to war, you went.You did the same stuff we are doing right now, and as long as I have a legacy that is as bad ass as you guys, I will live my Marine Corps career to the standards that you guys set for me.
When I stepped off of the van at the hotel, you guys were all waiting for us there, and you clapped for us.I know what you were thinking.When you guys stepped off the buses after you got back from Vietnam, nobody clapped for you.You had just been to hell and back, but kids your age who decided to go to college instead of grow some balls and fight for freedom never gave you any appreciation.When you saw us get off the bus you wanted to make sure that us veterans of today got the appreciation that you never got, even though you deserve it more than most of us.One of the veterans that came up to me was crying and gave me a hug.Some of you guys saluted and some shook hands.Every veteran that I saw at that moment came up to me and said "Welcome Home."
Every night, I hung out in my uniform with Fred, Moose, and Sel and we had a few drinks and exchanged war stories.I felt stronger than I ever have standing there with my brothers and talking about deployments and fire fights and cultures of far away countries.You guys may be a little older, but I never felt closer or more appreciated than when I hung out with you guys.