Saints walk among us. Medal of Honor, Bronze Stars, and Silver Stars, and multiple hundreds of thousands of Purple Hearts, because they valued someone else’s life more than their own. They are wrinkled, gray, and dim of sight, and weak of limb. They can’t remember what they had for lunch yesterday, but they can recall the day, the weather, and the event with every detail during their service. They remember every name of every guy in their squad. Smooth muscles that carried wounded men off the battlefield, now sag with loose skin and require the help of a cane just to rise and will always struggle to stand and salute our flag.

Heroes . . .  and we wouldn’t recognize them. They are the ones who ran into harm’s way to rescue some of our fathers, uncles, grandfathers, mothers, daughters. They laid down their lives, so you can have yours.

But there’s another group:

They are young and vibrant, and still full of hopes and dreams. Some have learned to control their weapons, but not their acne. They don’t have much, but often will give their last MREs to a child, who perhaps hasn’t eaten in days.

The young ones are just as heroic – because they are willing.  That should make you happy. You still have the opportunity to live in a free country.

The average soldier is under twenty-five years of age. He wears an eight-pound vest and carries a back-pack few of us could handle. But it’s not the packs on their backs that bothers them; it’s the ones that fall. It’s not the heavy boots they wear in hundred-degree weather that bother them; it’s the ones that stand empty, with a rifle and a helmet.

While we shower in our marble baths, they bathe with baby-wipes. As we sit on our porcelain thrones, they dig a trench for a toilet. They have seen and experienced things that no amount of computer graphics or special effects could imitate. And they do it over and over, and over again.

Yet, they don’t complain. They are glad to do what they do. They love their country. And obviously the people in it . . . that would be you and me.

"Not for fame or reward, not lured by ambition or goaded by necessity, but in simple obedience to duty." --Inscription at Arlington Cemetery

"Each of these heroes stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live and grow and increase in its blessings." -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

In over 230 years of American history, 45 million have raised their hands and said "Yes, I’ll die for my country." One and a half million did – for people they never met.  All our armed forces are amazing people.  All play an important part.

I get very emotional over this. I’m astounded by this group of men and women who leave everything to protect our country and our freedom. And lest we forget, there are thousands of our brave, missing in action, and prisoners of war . . .  still. Attached to them are families who don’t know if their loved ones are dead or alive, naked or hungry, whole or maimed.

 

I love our military. I was a military wife. I’m a military grandma, and a military mom. Our country may not be perfect, but it’s still the best. That’s why people will risk their lives to get in.

SAINTS AND HEROES

By Sharon Walling

Vet-REACH Voice

Volume 1 Issue 4