where the writers are
DELETE AND REPLACE

I deleted this because I thought it could be construed as negative and offensive. Then I talked with my grandson, Andy - now Sgt. Andy, USMC, who has done two tours in Iraq and one WestPac tour, and is now teaching machine gunning. He turned 24 last week.

 Because of my conversation with him. I decided to repost it.

 Happy Memorial Day!

What on earth does that mean? Happy remembering the day your son got his limbs blown off in Viet Nam, or let’s remember the day your beautiful daughter lost her brains all over the side of a Hum-V in Iraq.  Or for some, they are remembering the day two uniforms knocked on the door and said “We regret to inform you...”

 Very few of us ever really get to experience soul- to-soul those kinds of memories. We see, read, and have it visualized for us with snippets of young widows clutching children the father will never see. They only knew them as a photograph, or in some cases, an ultra-sound.  

The old saints – yes, saints, who have been awarded the 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, that preceded the award.  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 to a standing position. 

There are also saints who 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.  

Heroes walk among us, and we don’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. 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 pack on his back that bothers him; 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 

During 230 years of American history, 45 million have raised their hands and said “Yes, I’ll go die for my country.”  One and a half million did – for people they never met. 

I get very emotional every Memorial Day.  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. Attached to them are families who still 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 soon I will be a military mom.

Our country may not be perfect, but it’s still good enough that people will risk their lives to get in.

So while you’re barbequing, swimming, and enjoying your family picnics, take one minute and remember our vets: past, present, and future. That’s why you can have a

Happy Memorial Day.

 Post script: I think the title "Delete and Replace" is appropriate... that's what we do with our veterans.

        

Comments
15 Comment count
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Thank you for reposting!

I absolutely loved this blog and bookmarked it. When I came back and found it gone, it saddened me. As a daughter to a Vietnam Vet, who has seen PTSD first hand, watched her Dad struggle, survive and excel, to the point that he is now helping vets from Iraq and Afghanistan, I could see the truth and honor in the words you wrote. This is not offensive. It is a beautiful, heart wrenching and honorable depiction of the truth. Thank you for writing it. "Happy" Memorial Day to you, too, and **hugs** from someone who has also seen the effects of these truths to someone who could so beautifully and honestly depict them!

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Grateful

Grateful to our veterans - and grateful to you for taking time to comment. I know that not everyone feels the same way.
My grandson is home for the weekend, and his attitude and humility convinced me that I needed to re-post.

Andy's Hum-V hit an IED within the first two weeks he was in Iraq. Everyone in the vehicle suffered concussions and injuries, but...no fatalities.

When he came home he told us stories I know he didn't tell his mom (probably because grandpa is a vet too). We watched as it took him several weeks to become "normal" (for lack of a better word) again. Tell your dad, Thank you! from the depths of my heart.

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Talking is the greatest gift

I am so thankful to hear that everyone in the Hum-V is okay, and that he has you to talk to. That is the greatest gift any vet can have. My father was a corpsman and received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. When he came home, he went to college and eventually became a psychologist. Most of his career, he helped vets with PTSD. He successfully helped hundreds, maybe thousands of vets, yet suffered, in silence, at home. I was just a kid, but I could see the pain in his eyes. I tried to get him to talk, but he refused to. Then one day, I bought James Blunt's cd, "Back to Bedlam." When I heard his song, "No Bravery," I thought of my dad. I wanted to share it with him, but was unsure of what emotions would surface. I got up the courage, and on Father's Day, two years ago, I gave him the cd. It changed his life. The song set him free. He sat my mother and I down and told us the story that he had kept buried inside of him for almost thirty years. It was horrific...far worse than I ever imagined. The simple act of talking, and releasing the pain he had bottled up inside has healed him significantly. He has always been very successful with his position, but now he is in one of the head positions at a major military hospital helping our brave, wounded men and women with pain management and PTSD. Unfortunately, he is also asked to be there at the end of many of their journeys, supporting their families through the pain they're experiencing. I couldn't be more proud or honored to be able to call him my father. I will let him know of your thanks. Hearing those words always means the world to him, especially after the negative homecoming he and many other Vietnam Vets received when they came home, all those years ago.

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Stories and bravery

So you understand when I said computer graphics and special effects can't imitate what they've seen. I under stand about
PTSD. My first husband came backfrom Nam - a totally different person. He was a corpsman. He decided he didn't want to be married any longer. Lots of Vets faced that calamity when they came home. He took his own life.

My grandson was married before his second tour. Two months after that his wife said she couldn't stand it, and she left him. The average person has no idea the price that is paid.

Thank you again.

And the best to you and your family,
Sharon

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Sharon, there's no way

Sharon, there's no way anyone connected to the military could find this post offensive--it's full of nothing but respect for those who volunteer to do the hard work so the rest of us can breathe free. All politics aside, the average soldier/sailor/airman/marine is just out there doing his/her duty, serving our country and working to keep buddies safe. From this non-combat veteran, thanks for thinking of the veterans who endured and still endure so much for us.

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Hi Sharon

I agree with Courtney and Susan.

What an outstanding post, I am so glad that you decided to post it. Well said, Sharon. Absolutely well said. Thank you.

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Grateful

Thank you, so much for commenting. I appreciate your time.

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Oh Sharon, I don't think I

Oh Sharon, I don't think I could ever die for my country - in fact I think my country should die for me and in a way it is dying. I mean, why would one die for America? There is really no threat to it. Forgive me if I sound naive but I really quite honestly don't understand why someone would willingly enter into something and know the chances of getting ones limbs blown off are quite high. m

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Home of the Brave

The only way I can answer that, Mary, is they have a love of their country, and a respect and honor for the president. If the president, Commander and Chief of the Armed Forces says, "we need you to...." they willingly go - for love of country, for respect to their boss.

My grandson was in a group of people who started bad-mouthing our current administration. "Hey, that's my boss you're talking about." His attitude was the same with the prior administration. I think it's more than a simple choice, I believe it's a calling.

I think if it weren't for those brave men and women, we might be saying "Heil Hitler" instead of "I pledge allegiance."

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Of course that is possible -

Of course that is possible - I just can't imagine young men and women being expected to put their lives on the line - there ought to be a better solution to discord and power. m

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How I wish

But it seems history is doomed to truly repeat itself.

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Sharon - I fear I may have

Sharon - I fear I may have offended you. If so, I apologize. m

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Offended me?

Oh Mary, You couldn't offend me. In the few short times we have "chatted" I feel I  that I somewhat understand your heart.  Dear Mary, You couldn't possibly offend me. Have a sweet and colorful day, dear friend.

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Smiles Sharon. I guess I was

Smiles Sharon. I guess I was thinking in a global context - if only there was no need for war - if only we could all join hands and forgive whatever the hell it is that causes us to fight. My son has a sticker on his bedroom door that reads; Why do we kill people to show people that killing people is wrong? best, m

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Delete and Replace

Strong piece of writing. I think I understand why you posted it, and also why you deleted it. I'm glad you decided to post it again.

You and I grew up in different worlds, I would imagine. However, what happens in our military system and to our military personnel has an impact on us all.

I respectfully offer my prose poem, "For A Veteran" and also my poem, "The Assassin" (Blog). I also offer the first half of my award-winning poem about women in the military, "Stop the Loss" (Articles).

Bonnie was full of sunlight and laughter, from a farm in the upper peninsula; we all lived in a dormitory at the university. The military paid for her nursing school education. When she came back from war zone service, we did not know her. The sunlight and laughter were gone. Now she only associates with people "who were there."

When I was a child, there was a man in our neighborhood whom the adults seemed to look after. He worked at small jobs here and there. Sometimes a car would backfire loudly, and he would hit the sidewalk face down. We children would laugh, and he would look sheepish and smile as he stood up carefully, always carefully. It was years later before I knew why he did that.