Well yesterday my BNCOC (Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course) class did a trip to a veterans home. As some of you know I am a very patriotic person that has great respect for veterans. Just about every male member of my family is a vet.
Well I got to talking to a vet that look no more then 60 years old. Turned out he was over 90 and served in WWII and Korea. This soldier was in the military when the cav units still used horses.
But we got to talking about Iraq and how I was hurt and the friends I had lost. Then this man humbled me. His stories shook me to the bone. This man spoke of being part of the battle of the bulge. He was bayoneted in this battle, sent to a field hospital and patched up. He was going to head home when he found that his unit was suffering many losses and needed help. He left the field hospital to return to his unit only to be wounded again. This man was shot twice in the head. One round graved him and the other round traveled the lining between his scalp and his skull and exited the back of his head. He was shipped out again and ended up making it home.
Then as a 1SG in Korea he told me of a how he was burned by a flame thrower. Just when I thought this man had been threw enough he got a little choked up. He told me that the hardest thing he had to go threw was finding out he lost a soldier. During his time in Korea he told me he lost 50 soldiers. I was think to myself dang 50 soldiers in Korea that's not bad at all. Then he said "To the cold", I said excuse me? He said thats right son, I had 50 soldiers freeze to death in my company. Holy ****, was the first thing that came out of my mouth, then I said excuse me. Not to worry son he says, I have said it myself he says. As it got time to leave I tore my 3rd ID combat patch off my uniform and handed it to him, Shock the mans hand and thanked him for his service. The man sharply came to his feet and said "No thank you son". With a tear in my eye I turned and walked away. It is men and women like this that make it good to be called an American.
I beg you all, never pass up a chance to thank a vet. They carry the memories of those that are unable to be thanked.
Honor Guard will make you feel like that at times. Especially when you're NCOIC of the service and you have to stand in during the whole service and at the end, offer the flag to a family member. Watching the little kids crying was the worst.