I sit here and think back to the days sitting around the table playing cards with old friends. Friends who happened to be Vietnam vets...listening to them as they shared their story of what it was like to be in the trenches, what it was like to be set upon by the enemy. Never really knowing what to expect at any given moment, and sometimes never seeing it coming. I would sit for hours and listen with wonder as they defeated the odds that were stacked up against them during those times. Never knowing if and when you would ever go back home, ever see your loved ones, or ever be whole again. One of these men still had the shrapnel in his body, telling me to go ahead and run my hand back and forth across his arms. Feeling the needle like sharp teeth of that shrapnel still embedded, hopefully working its way out each day. His constantly reminder of what he lived thorough. His constant reminder of the badge he had earned.
Hearing their stories too, of how they were treated by those who did not agree with the war that they had been enlisted into. Not caring if they had been drafted without a consent or wish to be there or if they had signed up on their own. Did it really matter? I do not think so, as too many civilians just needed someone else to blame who were at their own level...the enlisted. A remembrance even to this day of how we as Americans get up in arms and want retaliation and then cry foul play when a war is among us. Has much really ever changed? One exception, we learned to honor those who are fighting the wars that our government enlist each of us into. For no matter whether we are here at home, or shipped off to the war zone...we are all in it together. Just as we were all those years ago. So shocking was the stories behind the lines that I believe as Americans we could not fathom what was coming at us, the news that we received all the propaganda. To not celebrate the safe return of our own men and woman is such a slap in the face for being where they never asked to be.
And here we are, remembering the vibrancy of the pictures these men shared of beautiful colors of the rainbow from the gun powder being wet as it shot out of cannons in the fields. Never knowing what to expect from one moment to the next. Not knowing at times that the exact place where you thought you were safe was now behind enemy lines. Washing your clothes the best way you can, standing there joking with your buddy and then seeing your buddy fall flat on his face with a bullet to his head. All things forgotten as you seize your gun and giving back as good as you were given. Grabbing your buddy and running knowing the weight on your back was nothing compared to what could have been. Never knowing what to expect from one moment to the next.
Hearing these men tell me what God meant to them after everything they lived and fought through, how God was more than their best friend. A friend that no church, pastor or minister could ever understand.
I sat there amazed still by their undying loyalty, love and patriotism to their flag and country that could not be shaken. Knowing that I would have felt the same way and then again, I would have felt the disappointment in my fellow country man or woman, my own government back then, as their reception, their home coming, their homes were far from warm and welcoming. A reception and homecoming not given the respect due to all they had fought for, all of what they endured and that they survived and lived through, all they had given up to be there, when the chips were thrown down. A life lost of their own hopes and dreams, growth and happiness, love and caring. A life that others decide for you each day for their own glory, but never their own physical pain.
No one really wants to admit what these men and women lived through, and I could share even more from those times. For everyone wants to forget, to not think about it as if they do, they will see how much of all that they have, in how much they really do owe to the men and women…our military’s finest.
These are my memories of those times sitting in a little kitchen playing cards, laughing, absorbing the true stories of these men and sharing what the real world is like. Growing up fast in those days, with an appreciation of each individual who gave up so much and fought so hard for all of us to be here right now. On a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, calling a group of friends on the phone to get together... to go outside and play baseball... an American past time in a small corner of the yard, in a small corner of our world....with these living American Legends.
I think of them from time to time, thankful to all they had gifted me with on those hot summer days and cold winter nights. Thanking them for allowing me to know really what it was like to be a veteran of our armed forces. To hear it from their side and point of view, their raw and uncensored story. And then my heart sinks especially when I hear the politicians talk about war after war…greed after greed…power and more power... knowing that each day another young man or woman suits up to give to God and their country the best there is, giving up their own freedom, their own life for us to walk free.
Unfortunately to understand and know, where has our freedom really gone and why? Where has that one thing that sparks anger or honor in the hearts of Americans…their Freedom…really reside? For as I know I am free right now, I know that all of the men and woman who sacrificed so much to give to us that freedom have been compromised in the face of greed, money and power…to not to take away from them in this moment but to honor, validate and appreciate all that you are and Thank God as we say " United We Stand …One Nation Under God" is meant to bring us back home a life of freedom to be who we are, a life of freedom to say...I love our Veterans for all that they give to us not just today but each and every day. I Love being an American as I am free this day.
Remember them well this Memorial day unto God we trust that they are safe as we celebrate their life, liberty, freedom and honor.
Love, Laughter & Light, Adele Marie
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