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Location: Phoenix, AZ, United States

Christian, wife, mother, writer, artist, teacher, published author. I love to write Christian fiction and non-fiction.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Veteran's Day to Remember.....

My husband and I attended a wonderful Veteran’s Day banquet at a local elementary school this morning. They had it today (USMC’s Birthday, by the way…) because they have no school tomorrow….

Anyways, the teacher does this every year to honor Veteran’s of all branches of service. She has done this for about 13 yrs. now.

Her students make a wonderful buffet breakfast and then decorate the entire classroom with red, white, and blue decorations. They make beautiful placemats for the quests and they do a creative job too!

Each student is told to find a Veteran, can be a family member or neighbor, interview them and then invite them to come to the banquet to talk about their service.

I wasn’t able to attend the banquet last year, but my husband did and he told me to make sure I set aside some time to attend this year. So I did…..

Best decision I made this year!!

After the delicious breakfast, each child got up and introduced their guest Veteran. Some were Air force currently serving, others were retired Army. There were even 2 Veteran’s of Iwo Jima there!! Amazing.

As the Marine Corps Iwo Jima Veteran spoke, I almost teared up as I pictured him at 18 yrs. of age entering the Marine Corps just a few days after Pearl Harbor. He said he and his wife were horseback riding that December morning when they heard of the attack. He enlisted soon after. He found himself on Iwo Jima in the 4th Infantry Division of the Marine Corps. For 60 days they battled there and lost 6,000 men in the first 30 days. He said they could see the enemy and didn’t know who they were fighting. But they held on…..and won.

The other Iwo Jima Veteran spoke about how he went from the cotton fields of Arkansas to Camp Pendleton where he trained as a young Marine. From there they went straight into battle. They were the first division ever to do that. Just imagine those scared young Marines heading into battle so soon after boot camp. As he spoke, I was overwhelmed with pride. To think that this man survived one of the bloodiest battles in Marine Corps history and was now here to talk about his experiences with these 6th graders in an American classroom. It was almost too much to handle. I looked at my former Marine husband and was even prouder of him than ever. He is part of this honorable fraternity. Must be an awesome feeling.

After they finished, a young man spoke about his experiences on board a submarine during the Cold War. It was fascinating to hear about the “cat & mouse” games that they played with the hidden enemy.

But the one story that stayed with me and made me want to write it down on my blog, was the story of the Vietnam Veteran.

When he started speaking, he was tearing up because his mind was flashing back to when he returned home in 1969 to a “thankless” America filled with distrust of government and hatred toward the military. He spoke about how he was invited to this banquet for 3 years but this time it was different: not very many Vietnam Vets were present. One of them, he explained, was not joining him because he took his own life this year.

Fighting back tears, he explained that it is hard sometimes for vets to live their lives. He explained that this one vet probably had issues in his life that he could not deal with any longer. He advised the young 6th graders staring at him to try and handle their problems with faith. He told them to stay strong through the hard times.

He tearfully thanked the class and all who were there for remembering the Vietnam Vets and for appreciating them because unlike the Veterans of WWII and the Gulf War, his generation never received the welcome home from America that they deserved.

He was an engineer in Vietnam and saw his share of horror and chaos, but he also was proud to serve his country in a noble cause.

And, yes, the Vietnam War was a noble cause. America was trying to stop the spread of Communism which in the end helps strengthen America and Democracy everywhere. It was the Communist sympathizers here in America that tried to stop this noble cause. They did it in the media: newspapers and television. They turned America against the American fighting man with exaggerated stories of atrocities and, in some cases, downright lies about what the military were doing in Vietnam.

Now, they are trying to do it again to our fighting men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Blinded by their hatred of our President and the military who love him, they will again tear down the American fighting man and make him into a robotic killer (or “clones” as George Lucas sees them….) out to do the governments’ evil acts to the innocent victims or “minutemen” in Iraq. They will call this war on terror ignoble or egregious and try to turn America against it with the media: newspapers and television.

They will print the exaggerated stories of the military committing atrocities again and they will read off the names of the dead as if they truly cared about who these men were. They will try to shock Americans with lies or by withholding the truth about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs. All this in order to make sure President Bush is left with a shameful record when he leaves office. They could care less about Iraq or the people who live there. They could care less about our military. They just want to hurt President Bush and this is the only way they know how.

I wouldn’t be surprised of they do cry for impeachment soon. Give them time.

We may not be able to stop the Liberals who hate the military and all it stands for, but we can make sure the TRUTH is out there and known.

That is what I love about blogs. And I will be damned if I will sit by and watch them allow our Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans come home to a “thankless” America like their fathers, Uncles, and grandfathers did during Vietnam.

It’s not going to happen. We won’t let it.

After this man finished telling us about his experiences, I went up and hugged him. I thanked him for his service and welcomed him home. I wished I could have done more, like traveled back into time and welcomed him home in 1969…….but I was only 2 then.

So, remember a Veteran today. If you have tomorrow off from work or school…thank a Veteran. It is because of them that we can enjoy tomorrow in peace and quiet in our country.

It is because of the brave that this is the land of the free.

God bless them all.


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