Thursday, November 10, 2016

GCF: Veteran's Day 2016 (Serious, not humor)

 



This wasn't sent to me by another person or list. It's just a few
thoughts about a holiday which is special to me. It's one of those
few times when I share something serious instead of humorous. -Tom

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GCF: Veteran's Day 2016 (Serious, not humor)

In the United States, the Veteran's Day holiday is celebrated
Friday, November 11th (this is also Remembrance Day in Canada). In
the early 1970's, Veteran's Day became a "movable" holiday -- the
fourth Monday of October. In 1978, at the urging of veteran's groups
who realized the sanctity of the date, Congress returned Veteran's
Day to November 11th (if on a weekend, it moves to the closest Friday
or Monday). Please remember that this day is not to honor war, but
rather to honor the sacrifice made by others for our freedom.

What we call Veteran's Day is the anniversary of the signing of the
Armistice in the Forest of Campiegne by the Allies and the Germans in
1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). This
signified the end of World War I and was originally known as
Armistice Day. President Woodrow Wilson signed the Congressional
Resolution on Nov. 11, 1919, the first Armistice Day.

However, after World War II, the day began to lose meaning and since
there were many other veterans to consider, the decision was made to
change November 11th to honor all those who fought in American wars.
The United States Congress passed an act to change the name to
Veteran's Day and in 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower signed the act.

With that in mind, I would like to say "thank you" to all the men and
women with whom I served, and to especially remember those who aren't
with us anymore. As a former Hospital Corpsman, I wish a heartfelt
"Semper Fi" to all my Marine friends.

- Tom Ellsworth
(HM2 USN 1965-69)

Note: In previous years, my Veteran's Day piece has dealt with various topics.

In 2004 it was the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National
Cemetery. That can be found in the Good Clean Fun Yahoo Archives at
this address:

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/good-clean-fun/conversations/messages/1552

In 2005 it dealt with a piece called "What is a Veteran?" and was
attributed to a Marine Corps Chaplain (Reverend Denis O'Brien). That
can be found in the Good Clean Fun Yahoo Archives at this address:

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/good-clean-fun/conversations/messages/1820

In 2006 it was simply a story about "duty" that was sent to me. I
read it and couldn't help but be moved by its words. That can be
found in the Good Clean Fun Yahoo Archives at this address:

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/good-clean-fun/conversations/messages/2085

In 2007 it was a story about "military spouses" ... we sometimes
forget that the sacrifice of the family left behind is just as great
as that of the person overseas. That can be found in the Good Clean
Fun Yahoo Archives at this address:

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/good-clean-fun/conversations/messages/2361

In 2008 it was a story about the "bond" of Marines. That can be found
in the Good Clean Fun Yahoo Archives at this address:

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/good-clean-fun/conversations/messages/2631

In 2009 it was a story about servicemen returning from Afghanistan.
That can be found in the Good Clean Fun Yahoo Archives at this address:

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/good-clean-fun/conversations/messages/2894

In 2010 there were two items: (1) The Virtual Wall (a tribute to all
those lost during the Vietnam war) and "Thank You Soldiers" (an
original song sung by the 3rd Grade class at Tussing Elementary
School in Colonial Heights, Virginia. That can be found in the Good
Clean Fun Yahoo Archives at this address:

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/good-clean-fun/conversations/messages/3157

In 2011 it was a story about the history of Taps, that haunting song
played at all military funerals. That can be found in the Good Clean
Fun Yahoo Archives at this address:

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/good-clean-fun/conversations/messages/3392m

In 2012 it was a story about The Old Gentleman. That can be found in
the Good Clean Fun Yahoo Archives at this address:

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/good-clean-fun/conversations/messages/3657

In 2013 it was a story about the children in military families. That
can be found in the Good Clean Fun Yahoo Archives at this address:

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/good-clean-fun/conversations/messages/3923

In 2014 it was not about the veterans themselves, but rather about
the families who remain at home, without their loved ones. That can
be found in the Good Clean Fun Yahoo Archives at this address:

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/good-clean-fun/conversations/messages/4188

In 2015 it was "The Last Six Seconds" ... It is a story of two veterans who gave their all for us. Let's not forget the many thousands who have done likewise. That can be found in the Good Clean Fun Yahoo Archives at this address:

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/good-clean-fun/conversations/messages/4453

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This year I want to share a piece which was sent to me by my lovely wife, Nancy.

It is titled simply "At the Bedside"

A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside. "Your son is here," she said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient's eyes opened.

Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man's limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.

The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man's hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile. He refused.

Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital - the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients. Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.

Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.

Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her, "Who was that man?" he asked.

The nurse was startled, "He was your father," she answered.

"No, he wasn't," the Marine replied. I never saw him before in my life."

"Then why didn't you say something when I took you to him?"

"I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn't here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son and knowing how much he needed me, I stayed. I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey. His son was killed in Iraq today, and I was sent to inform him. What was this gentleman's name?"

The nurse with tears in her eyes answered, "His name was William Grey."

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As a final thought on my part, let me share a favorite prayer:

"Lord, keep our servicemen and women safe, whether they serve at home
or overseas. Hold them in Your loving hands and protect them as they
protect us. Also remember their families back at home. They sacrifice
by being away from their loved ones."

Let's all keep those currently serving and those who have gone before
in our thoughts. They are the reason for the many freedoms we enjoy.

Remember, we live in the land of the free because of the brave.
(Heroes don't wear capes; heroes wear dog tags.)

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Posted by: "Thomas S. Ellsworth" <tellswor@kcbx.net>
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