Thank you to all the veterans that have served for my freedom. Thank you to anyone that has lost a family member serving for this country. I can not express my gratitude to you!
I was invited to go to a BBQ today, steak 'n corn, hurray!
"Wear something Army!" my friends all said.
I called them early, 10am, and told them I could not come.
Used some lame excuse when I didn't have one.
I am nothing but a Hep-C sick 51 y/o old Vet, I trashed my uniforms
in 1997, like the bug I didn't know I carried was busy trashing my liver.
For 20 years had to wear them most days, no loss,
and one BDU shirt is all I kept. In a dark closet it still hangs.
Burnt all the rest in a 55-gallon steel barrel 1 week out
to lighten my physical and emotional load, I regret that now.
I'm no hero, I don't boast about deeds or that many
did much better than me, or tried. My civilian M8's could
not relate when I break into acronyms still so natural
to me but PCS or DD214's are long explanations for
folks who have never used them, THANK GOD!
I seek out Vets who know me as well as I know them,
not by years of friendship, or kin, just because we share
a common bond, and they know the acronyms
as normal talk too, so at home I stayed. I won't be
put on a pedestal I am not worthy to step up onto.
Some call me a hermit, what I've seen and done
all over the world are stories probably best left untold.
Few would believe even 1/2 of the ones anyway, I sometimes don't!
But the plaques on my study wall don't lie, reminding me of
actions & times others wrote about me in their words, not mine.
My God I should be dead! Guess Lady Luck was watching my 6.
I searched the net for the right words to say to my
M8's who I let down today, found them and they
follow below. Don't worry Luke: royalty free stuff
Thanks for the kinds words of all here, but today I think
it's best I duck the praise and just get on with living
out the rest of my days. It's Memorial Day 365 a year for
me when at night my dead troops 'come back' to visit
my tormented dreams. A siren 'puts me back' inside a 911 rig Code-3.
I can't even hear Taps played anymore, I sob like a kid and shiver inside.
Or a Huey with a red cross on the side flies by, low & swift, [once 'my office' in the sky]
Fairchild AFB bound and my arms shoot up, a fool, but like a trained dog
that symbol always meant: 'Land here!' for the dustoffs
so many I guided in over so many years to L-Z's hot or helipads cold.
In shame I drop them to my side, reality hits, and I just feel
stupid for doing something my brain did not tell
my arms to do, instinctive training just busted on through.
SFC, 91B40, U.S. Army (Ret)
Canis Lupus, you did not have to wear those uniforms for 20 years. You could have have opted out many times and flown in choppers marked Flight for Life or Mercy Air for higher wages and far more safety. Do not be embarassed or ashamed of showing now the pent-up emotions that you could not show at the time. Most all of us have something that brings tears to our eyes.
We may not understand the acronyms, but most of us understand the patriotism you have shown. But not being a vet should not deny me the privilege of shaking your hand and saying "Thank You" in person. I do not think of that as putting you on a pedestal.
Perhaps on Veterans Day....