Monday, May 28, 2012

Where Are The Tears?

I wrote two posts last year on my blog Minstrals & Troubadors, one a poem about our Veterans and one a sort of opinion-piece about our Veterans.  The piece about our Vets had a different poem at the end, but I decided to combine these two into one for today.  I feel very strongly about our military and those who served. You can thank my dad for that. He never got into the military, they wouldn't have taken him thanks to a blown knee from high school.  But he's loved and appreciated them his whole life and passed that on to my sister and me.  Don't show your stupidity and/or ignorance by abusing the military in front of my dad or me. We love them.  We appreciate them. And we'll defend them as they defend us.  Here, then, are my tributes to our Vets and the jobs they've done.

A Veteran

It bothers me.

It bothers me that, when I thank a Veteran, he is surprised. Or that he cries. Not because I thanked him, but because anyone thanked him. 
He didn't join the military to gain honors or acclaim. Most of them joined out of a sense of duty, a desire to do what they considered the right thing and the choice to do whatever they could to contribute to the continuing freedom of what they considered a great nation.

When I see a Veteran, I shake his hand, tell him how much I appreciate his service and even ask what branch he was in or where he served. They don't tell me much (it's mostly in passing, after all) but they proudly proclaim their branch of the military and unit they served in.

Most of the time, they smile in gratitude for my gratitude. Once in awhile, tears will fill their eyes that someone will make the effort to even show gratitude for what they did with something as simple as a handshake, a smile, and a quiet "thank you". Sometimes, if family is nearby, tears will fill their eyes, too. Because someone was grateful to an unsung hero.

They don't want a parade.

They don't desire fame.
They don't need ceremonies.
They deserve respect for sacrifices made.
They deserve honor for services rendered.
They deserve a long line of grateful people shaking their hand and saying a quiet "thank you" until it's no longer a surprise.

If you see a Veteran (they ususally wear a baseball hat or a windbreaker or something else with the name of their unit or ship, something will give them away) stop and shake his hand. Ask him where he served, what unit he was with, and thank him for that service. If you can, pay for his meal. You can do this anonymously, I have, and what's a few dollars more for someone who offered his life for yours? Just ask the waitress for his ticket and tell her to only let him know it's from a grateful citizen. He'll be thrilled and it will make your day to have given a little gratitude to such a quiet, brave man.
They all went to Hell and back for us.
Appreciate them while we still have them.
Thank them while we still have the time.

Where Are The Tears?
Where are the tears for the fallen in war?
For those who have journeyed thru Death's darkened door?

Where the reminders of valor? Unsung.
For those who departed with life left undone?

Where do you stand for the red, white and blue?
The banner defended by others who knew;

     Knew they could die for taking a stand,
     Knew they'd be hated, protecting this land,
     Knew that their choice could be met with disgust
     But knew, to save others, the choice was a must.

Where are the tears? Where is the pride?
Where is the faith to stand at their side?

Where is the gratitude, down thru the years,
For lives that were sacrificed. Where are the tears?


  1. I loved your post about the veterans...I, too, feel strongly about this.