Thursday, November 10, 2011


When I go to my local VA Medical Center for care, my doctor and his entire staff  say to me, “Thank you for your service.” That is a strange thing for me to hear. While on the one hand I am grateful that my service has been appreciated, on the other I feel my contribution pales to insignificance when compared to what so many others have given. I have written before and I will say again, I received so much more from my time in the military than I ever gave. I didn’t think so at the time, but the years have allowed me to analyze what the military meant to me. That’s what maturity does for you. I entered as a teenage boy from the hills of Tennessee and came out as a man. For that I am very grateful. I continue to receive benefits from my service.

When I was a kid you either joined or you were drafted. Today the new military is all volunteer. We have our finest young people joining and there are wars going on. I am truly thankful such people exist. Personally, I believe we would all be better off if we still had the draft. It would certainly give youngsters something to think about as they contemplate their lives, but that’s a story for another time.

And so today we celebrate veterans. We pause to think of them, the old and the young. The wounded and the dead. The able bodied and the challenged. We think of their families and of their sacrifice. We consider the children who may grow up without a parent. We think of the parents of soldiers and sailors who had to bury their own children and we are sad. The sentiment “Thank you for your service” seems so feeble. And yet, most would say they were just doing their job. Most of their families would say they gave as they did because the military was their lives. Today we will have parades. Today we will have speeches. Politicians will wax eloquently as to how much we appreciate our military and their sacrifices. And we will say “Thank you for your service.”

This is what I know. My life and yours is made freer because of their sacrifices. The morons who stand on the corner singing songs of hatred for America do so because some brave soul cared enough for freedom to give his or her all. The so-called church which pickets funerals of our brave warriors killed in action have that right because of the very soldiers who died so they could. The protesters who desecrate our flag out of some misguided idiocy are free to walk away from their despicable acts because veterans guaranteed them the freedom of action and thought. Perhaps these idiots would like to try their nonsense in some other countries like say, North Korea, or Russia, or China, or maybe even Venezuela.

And so we say, “Thank you for your service.” It does seem kind of lame, doesn’t it? As a veteran I like to hear it. When I have the opportunity, I say it. Many of you who will read this are veterans so this sentiment goes out to you as well.

Happy Veteran’s Day and may God bless the US Military.

Ron Scarbro Veteran’s Day 2011

I am including this poem for all to read. Many of you have seen it before but I am sure you will agree it doesn’t hurt to read again.

(A Soldier Died Today)
by A. Lawrence Vaincourt

He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.

And tho’ sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we’ll hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,
And the world won’t note his passing, though a soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
A guy who breaks his promises and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who, in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?

A politician’s stipend and the style in which he lives
Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal and perhaps, a pension small.

It’s so easy to forget them for it was so long ago,
That the old Bills of our Country went to battle, but we know
It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
Would you want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end?

He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us we may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier’s part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor while he’s here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper that would say,
Our Country is in mourning, for a soldier died today.


Anonymous said...

Both the post and the poem were fitting for today.
Steve Ganshert

Anonymous said...

Great poem, it really touched me. I agree with you because Mark receives get care from the VA and will probably for life. I also agree we should have the draft maybe kids wont have time to join a gang as they will be in the Army and learning a few morals.