I was sitting here on this Veteran's Day, trying to think of something to blog about, I mean of all people, a veteran should know what to say; right? Well that's just not the case. I pride myself on being a learned man, one who knows what to say at the right time; however for those of us who have served our country know that although we are proud to have served, we are humbled by those who served with us and didn't come home, and it is often too difficult to write about it; however I fortunately have the luxury of quoting others who have come before me…
In the book, Gates of Fire, the author writes, “When a warrior fights not for himself, but for his brothers, when his most passionately sought goal is neither glory nor his own life's preservations, but to spend his substance for them, his comrades, not to abandon them, not to prove unworthy of them, then his heart truly has achieved contempt for death, and with that he trancends himself and his actions touch the sublime. This is why the true warrior cannot speak of battle save to his brothers who have been there with him. This truth is too holy, too sacred for words. I myself would not presume to give it speech, save here now, with you.”
For those who have never dug a hole in the ground to protect themselves from enemy fire, or stood vigil in freezing temperatures on a ship somewhere in the North Atlantic, or flown through a hail of anti-aircraft flak, or repelled out of a helicopter 100 feet from the ground to rescue a downed pilot, it is hard to comprehend why someone so young, so full of life would be willing to make the ulitmate sacrifice for a cause that is not their own; however if you think that, then you would be wrong, because these individuals don't give their lives for the cause, they don't make the ulitmate sacrifice for God, for Country, or even for their President. They give their lives for something much greater, much more profound, they do it for their fellow brothers-in-arms.
Lt. Col Mark A. Smith, USMC of TF 2/24, Mahmudiyah, Iraq writes in his letter to the family of fallen Marine LCpl Daniel Wyatt:
“…I am just an under-educated gun toter from Indiana who is just lucky there is an organization like the USMC where a half-wit like myself with some rudimentary combat skills can succeed. But I do know heros! I am surrounded by over a thousand of them. And I am not the least bit ashamed to tell you I have wept like a baby for Daniel Wyatt. Because when one of these heroes falls, it is as if an Angel of God himself has fallen from heaven!.
I will not profess glory of battle or any other such hype. I will profess duty and sacrifice. Daniel showed us all true duty and ulitmate sacrifice. I have no doubt that the instant he died, he was whisked to heaven on the wings of Angels and placed before the unapproachable light of Jesus, who himself said: “greater love hath no man, than a man lay down his life for his friends.”
After reading that I was reminded of a paragraph in President Ronald Reagan's book, “The Wisdom and Humor of the Great Communicator” – in it he writes:
“It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country, in defense of us, in wars far away. The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray haired. But most of them were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives – the one they were living and the one they would have lived. When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to everything for our country, for us. And all we can do is remember.”
So to all those reading this, veterans and civilians alike, I would say, let us not forget the Daniel Wyatt's of this world, for truly to forget their sacrifice is to dishonor their death.