us have heard the distinctive crack of an AK-47 and smelled cordite after
a firefight. We have felt the dry desert sand in our boots and sweated in
the oppressive heat of a jungle, loaded an aircraft with unspeakable
things or shivered in the outbackís of nowhere.
stand on a steel deck, fly through hostile fire, type our orders to come
home or tend our wounds both inside and out are just a few of the members
of our chosen profession who have felt the adrenalin flow in a hostile
arena. A select few wear the honored purple badge of courage and some have
been awarded bronze and silver.
suspended from the neck on a ribbon of bluebird blue with a clasp of 13
white stars arranged as three chevrons holds a medal bar with the word
VALOR engraved on its gold surface. The Navy has a gold anchor instead of
a bar. Attached below is a 5-pointed star each unique to the branch of
service. The recipients of this medal have all of our most sincere respect
and we honor them as no other. They are to all of us, the bravest of the
in the armed forces plays a support roll in combat activities regardless
of what job you performed including those who are left at home to tend the
children and mind the home front.
shoulders every day with people who donít have the slightest idea what a
veteran means to this country but we know and thatís why our experiences
codify our honored status as we are all comrades that have been in harms
put a few words together about how I feel about Memorial Day that only
comrades in arms can understand as brothers and sisters united in a common
Memorial day is
traditionally set aside for remembering and honoring military personnel
who died in service of their country. Particular honor is given to
those who died in battle or as the results of wounds sustained in battle.
Many of us would not be here if those brave men and women had not given
their ultimate sacrifice.
With an early morning
mist hovering just at ground level, I walked the hallowed grounds of the
Biloxi National Cemetery in Biloxi, Mississippi. I watched
volunteers and military members place tiny flags a shoe or boot length
from each head stone or bronze marker.
Ground level bronze markers
flank the rows of white gravestones that are positioned in austere
military order. I stood by the markers of fallen friends and
comrades who made the supreme sacrifice for our great nation. The
same feeling of honor and pride swelled in my heart when I stood in our
cemeteries from the Punch Bowl, Vicksburg and the markers of Normandy.
It is a feeling that only a
veteran who saw and felt the sacrifices can understand. It is far
more than the loss of a friend or comrade but an immense feeling of honor,
pride and sadness mixed together.
The tears began to flow
when I talked to my old friends who held their last muster. The
poignant melody of Taps echoes in my heart as the glistening white stones
stand in review. I feel the distant roll of the drums knowing full
well that soon I will be resting with my friends and comrades, as we make
our last patrol together on the grassy slopes of this honored setting.
Before leaving, I rendered
the hand salute and said a special prayer for all who stand in harms way
and guard our freedom in the outposts of the world and for the fallen that
went before us.
MSgt USAF (1stSgt) Retired
Monkey Mountain RSVN
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