I prefer to spend Veteran’s Day alone. Remembering.
Today I noticed that my brother keeps a print out posted on his wall that says this:
“People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”
The quote is attributed to George Orwell and/or Winston Churchill; for those interested in provenance here’s a link: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/11/07/rough-men/
I don’t care who said it. I understand it. That’s enough for me.
It reminds me of my own time walking the walls. I was young then. Now I’m an Old Guy who, on occasion, if necessary, does the same thing in a different way.
Someone once asked me why I did what I did. I said, “There’s no greater satisfaction than to know that you’ve been there, ready, in harm’s way, on behalf of those sleeping peacefully behind you.”
That person said, “Thank you.”
I said, “Thanks are appreciated, but not necessary.”
Today I’m reminded of all the Rough Men I know: past, present, and future. They’re out there walking the walls overseas, or prowling the night streets here in CONUS, out doing things that so many of the protected don’t think of when they sleep safely in their beds. Some of the Rough Men who tutored me when I was young fought in MACV-SOG. Here’s an insight they shared with me:
“For those who fight to protect it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.”
I don’t know if the protected ever fully comprehend the price paid by those Rough Men (and, these days, Rough Women as well). I know a SEAL who will be deployed in harm’s way when his first son is born; a brilliant Special Forces NCO who will be hunting Taliban instead of writing his first novel; a mother with a battle flag, a photograph and a Gold Star; a paratrooper who lives with chronic pain in his remaining leg and worries about being able to play with his children.
They all paid a price so you can sleep soundly in your bed.
Today’s a good day to remember the Rough Men and Women out there walking the walls. You can say Thank You; I’m sure they’d appreciate it.
But it’s not necessary. They’d probably say something like this:
This is who we are. We walk the walls. We stand in harm’s way on behalf of others. This is who we are.
Thanks are not necessary.
We Serve. By choice.
God speed and good hunting, Warriors.