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For our troups......

aldive

Elite In Memoriam
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Fou out troops......

The following passage is from a sermon by John Hagee:
>
>I want you to close your eyes and picture in your mind the soldier at
>Valley
>Forge, as he holds his musket in his bloody hands. He stands barefoot in
>the snow, starved from lack of food, wounded from months of battle and
>emotionally scarred from the eternity away from his family surrounded by
>nothing but death and carnage of war. He stands though, with fire in his
>eyes and victory on his breath. He looks at us now in anger and disgust and
>tells us this...
>
>I gave you a birthright of freedom born in the Constitution and now your
>children graduate too illiterate to read it.
>
>I fought in the snow barefoot to give you the freedom to vote and you stay
>at home because it rains.
>
>I left my family destitute to give you the freedom of speech and you remain
>silent on critical issues, because it might be bad for business.
>
>I orphaned my children to give you a government to serve you and it has
>stolen democracy from the people.
>
>It's the soldier not the reporter who gives you the freedom of the press.
>
>It's the soldier not the poet who gives you the freedom of speech.
>
>It's the soldier not the campus organizer who allows you to demonstrate.
>
>It's the soldier who salutes the flag, serves the flag, whose coffin is
>draped with the flag that allows the protester to burn the flag!!!
>
>"Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect
>us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for
>us
>in our time of need. I ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
>Amen."
 
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Defender3

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John Hagee allegedly gave this sermon, but the piece is much older and has been reprinted many times. Of course, when you're trying to find something, you can't, but I'll see if I can find the original for all us military folks, and fans.

There are many more such stories that are equally as provoking, here are just three:

“Just a Common Soldier”
by
A. Lawrence Vaincourt, WWII AF Veteran, 1985


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 of wereof 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 and 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 the passing and proclaim they were great.
Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.
Is the greater 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 or war and strife,
Goes to serve his country and offers up his life?
A politiciain’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 know 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 his Country and would fight to the end?
He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,
For when the 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 his homage at then 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.

ã 1985 A. Lawrence Vaincourt
Provided by Randy Vaincourt as printed in the Washington Times, 31 Dec 01


Dear America:

I am writing this letter to extend thanks to all the American people who still, despite the recent headlines undermining the ethics and morality of the military, understand that our jobs and way of life are necessary to preserve the “American” way of life. I once thought that “America” viewed us as most media portrays us; immoral, unethical, and uncivilized. My recent travels led me to conclude that the opposite is true. You, the American people, that honor and respect what we do, deserve a public “thank you.”

Just a few weeks ago, a tragedy embedded itself in the tall evergreen forests at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, LA. As a tank slowly slalomed through the trees after sunset on January 14, 1998, the tank commander fell victim to the inherent danger of the military. SGT(P) Donald Wayne Slover passed away that night as he was guiding his tank through the thickest of trees, fog, and rain. The tank’s edge clipped and uprooted a tree, which sent it crashing to the ground. The medics, arriving on site only minutes later, felt SGT(P) Slover’s last pulse.

As one of two military escorts, I was required to accompany the remains from the training area to the burial site, ensuring the proper and unimpaired delivery to the next of kin. The obligation required a two day journey from Fort Hood, TX, to Williamsburg, KY, via Fort Polk, LA. Loading, unloading, and transportation of the remains required our physical presence. This particular trip entailed a three hour van ride, a connecting flight in Atlanta in route to Knoxville, and a 1 hour drive to Williamsburg, KY.

Upon boarding our initial flight out of Houston we informed the flight attendant of our duties. After explaining that it was necessary for us to depart the plane first upon landing (so as not to delay the cargo personnel unloading the casket), two gentlemen offered their seats in the first row of the plane for our last row seats. This gesture left me speechless. I’m not so sure they even knew our purpose for having to be first off the plane, but with no questions immediately sacrificed their front row seats.

After arriving in Atlanta, we were escorted by airport personnel off the plane and down to the tarmac. Standing in our dress green uniforms, we watched as the airline employees carefully unloaded the casket onto the cargo truck. The truck drove off to the departing gate and we made our way back inside the terminal. We met the cargo truck at the departure gate and again were escorted down to the tarmac to supervise the loading of our final flight. Following the loading, we turned and headed back to the terminal. As we made that walk, I noticed that we were being watched by the crowd awaiting the outbound flight. Not thinking much about it at the time, I scurried out of the cold and awaited the boarding call.

We boarded the plane and again informed the flight attendant of our duties and departure requirements. The flight was booked, every seat filled, and she told us that she would make an announcement upon landing that we were to exit the plane first. Having been on full flights before, I was for certain that this announcement would be ignored. Passengers are normally elbow deep in the overhead compartments as soon as the wheels touch the ground. I was 100% positive I would be the last person off that flight. But I took my seat in the back of the plane, my partner 10 rows in front, and with all of my military skills tried to devise a plan that could project me to the front of that plane upon landing. I concluded that even generals would have a rough time planning such an operation.

As the plane touched down in Knoxville, the flight attendant gave the standard “keep your seat-belts fastened until the captain turns off the seat-belt sign” announcement. She then led into the fact that two military escorts were on-board and that everyone must remain in their seats until we departed the plane. The plane parked and to my astonishment, not a soul moved. I’d never witnessed such absolute silence in my life. Many of the passengers turned their heads to the rear of the plane but not a sound was made as myself and the other escort donned our jackets, grabbed our bags, and headed down the aisle. I realized then that all eyes were on us. As we neared the exit an older gentleman leaned toward us and broke the silence with something I will never forget, “God bless you both.” he said.

I am, sir, most truly blessed. I have been afforded the opportunity to work alongside some of the greatest sons and daughters of our nation. We know and understand that each day presents the possibility of injury and/or death and we take all precautions to prevent them. But we sacrifice that possibility because you depend on us. We train through the roughest of conditions, with minimum sleep and limited resources, anywhere at anytime, to ensure we are always ready. We, sir, are most honored that you entrust us to defend your country.

So I’m writing this letter to say thanks. Thank you Delta Airlines, thank you gentlemen for your seats, thank you sir for your blessings, and thank you America for your support. You see... we as soldiers don’t expect you to understand the ways in which we live, train, and fight; we just ask for a thank you from time to time. A little appreciation from the people we’re defending weighs more than a chestful of awards and medals.

SGT(P) Donald Wayne Slover gave his life training to defend the very code of morality and ethics he exemplified and believed in. SGT(P) Slover believed in the Army and his country. I worked alongside SGT(P) Slover for over a year. He was good at his job and he loved it. He never complained and always did what was asked of him. SGT(P) Slover always maintained the courage of his convictions. I hope he lied to rest knowing he was appreciated. If not, we failed as a nation and we owe it to him.

SGT(P) Slover...thank you! You will be missed!


Daniel Ashley
1-10 Cavalry
READY AND FORWARD

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived
alone, in a one bedroom house made of
plaster and stone. I had come down the
chimney with presents to give, and to see
just who in this house did live. I looked all
about, a strange sight I did see, no tinsel, no
presents, not even a tree. No stockings by the
mantle, just boots filled with sand, on the
wall hung pictures of far distant lands. With
medals and badges, awards of all kinds, a
sober thought came through my mind, For
this house was different, it was dark and
dreary. I found the home of a soldier, once I
could see clearly. The soldier lay sleeping
silent and alone, curled up on the floor in this
one bedroom home. The face was so gentle,
the room in such disorder, not how I pictured
a United States Soldier. Was this the hero of
whom I'd just read? Curled up on a poncho,
the floor for a bed? I realized the families
that I saw this night, owed their lives to these
soldiers who were willing to fight. Soon
round the world, the children would play,
and grownups would celebrate a bright
Christmas Day. They all enjoyed freedom
each month of the year, because of the
soldiers, like the one lying here. I couldn't
help wonder how they lay alone, on a cold
Christmas Eve in a land far from home. The
very thought brought a tear to my eye, I
dropped to my knees and started to cry. The
soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa don't cry, this life is my choice, I
fight for freedom, I don't ask for more, my
life is my God, my Country, my Corps." The
soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep, I
couldn't control it, I continued to weep. I kept
watch for hours, so silent and still, and we
both shivered from the cold nights chill. I
didn't want to leave on that cold, dark night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over with a voice soft
and pure, whispered, "Carry on Santa, it's
Christmas Day, all is secure." One look at
my watch and I knew he was right, Merry
Christmas my friend, and to all a good night.


By: Major Bruce Lovely
 
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