What Is A Vet? Some veterans bear visible signs of their service a missing limb,
a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.
Others may carry the evidence inside them a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg -
or perhaps another sort of inner steel the soul's ally forged in the
refinery of adversity.
Except in parades, however, the men and women
who have kept America safe,
wear no badge or emblem.
You can't tell a vet just by looking. What is a Vet? He is my brother, my cousin, my uncle.
He was our grandfathers.
And he was at times afraid, but he did his duty in spite of his fear, because he thought we had something worth fighting for. He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times
in the cosmic scales
by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel. She - or he -
is the nurse who
futility and went to sleep
sobbing every night
for two solid years in Da Nang. He is the POW who went away one person and came back another
- or didn't
come back AT ALL. He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat - but has
saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines,
and teaching them to watch each other's backs. He is the parade - riding Legionnaire who pins
on his ribbons
with a prosthetic hand. He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass
him by. He is the three anonymous heroes in
The Tomb Of The Unknowns,
whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of
all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies
unrecognized with them on the
battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep. He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket
- palsied now and aggravatingly slow -
who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come. He is an ordinary and yet
an extraordinary human being -
a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country,
and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice
theirs. He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he
is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the
finest, greatest nation ever known. So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say
That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded. Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU". He was my father, a man whose departure has left a pair of shoes that I can't fill by half. He was my friend.
He watched my back when I was watching his. He was the high school classmate whose body was never recovered. He was everybody's dad back in the 50's, and we were all proud of them. He was the nameless Lieutenant who wiped the spit of demonstrators off his clean uniform. Thank You! He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating
two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run
out of fuel. We in the United States
have all heard the haunting song,
It's the song that gives us the lump in our throats and usually tears in our eyes. But, do you know the story behind the song? If not, I think you will be interested to find out about its humble beginnings. Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Elli was with his men near Harrison's Landing in Virginia.
The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land. During the night, Captain Elli heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field.
Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment..
When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead. The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier.
It was his own son.
The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out..
Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army. The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial, despite his enemy status.
His request was only partially granted. The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral. The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate. But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only
one musician. The Captain chose a bugler.
He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth's uniform.
This wish was granted. The haunting melody, we now know as
used at military funerals was born. The words are:
Day is done.
Gone the sun.
From the lakes
From the hills.
From the sky.
All is well.
God is nigh. Fading light.
Dims the sight.
And a star.
Gems the sky.
Falls the night. Thanks and praise.
For our days.
Neath the sun
Neath the stars.
Neath the sky
As we go.
This we know.
God is nigh I too have felt the chills while listening to 'Taps' but I have never seen all the words to the song until now.
I didn't even know there was more than one verse .
I also never knew the story behind the song and I didn't know if you had either so I thought I'd pass it along. I now have an even deeper respect for the song than I did before.
Remember Those Lost and Harmed While Serving Their Country. Also Remember Those Who Have Served And Returned; and for those presently serving in the Armed Forces.See the full transcript