Monday, November 9, 2009

This Veteran's Day

We live in a great country. A country whose greatness rests largely upon each citizen's upholding belief in ideals above and beyond their individual selves. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the primary ideals that represent the collective conceptual core of how we begin to define our America and ourselves as Americans. Few, if any other citizen exemplifies a full commitment to these ultimate ideals more so than our veterans.

Seven states and four thousand miles gone by, I've met dozens – each with stories or insights into a life of service for our country. From brief sidewalk conversations to gory details over dinners, there always seemed to be some reflective questioning and yet humble dignity etched within each discussion. Has there ever been a struggle in which all was left on the battlefield? The answer is quickly revealed within a vet's choice vocabulary, or sincere tear, but made quite obvious with sharp angle, no non-sense logic that cuts directly into the proverbial heart topic. Once we reach such tragic depths of the actual morbidness that can be found in a single moment's mortality (e.g. whether or not to try and save your brother soldier by dragging his half-alive-half-body out of crossfire) I have no frame of reference - no way of attempting to imagine that emotion or life-long impact.

Our veteran's are living history. There are many ways to honor their service and sacrifice, but what many seem to appreciate the most, is having someone that will take the time to sit down and simply listen. In west Texas, I met an incredible man and Vietnam veteran by the name of Rex who said, “...that I don’t think any of us (Veterans) are complaining, we all want to forget the dirty business of War....God bless you and take care of the flag, my old WWII buddy told me yesterday that most of the time, “it” (The UNITED STATES FLAG) was the only friend he had.” Find the time to seek out and talk to our nation's veterans.

Downtown Seattle - Day One of My Journey

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