On Veterans Day

Posted on November 11, 2013


Of all the days in the year there are only a few that make me give pause and truly reflect.

To pause and give thanks to men and woman who have come before me who have given the ultimate sacrifice.  It was not always like this though.  Growing up I never truly understood the significance of this day.  The actions of men and women before my time were something I could not really comprehend.  I am a different man now.  A different man who understands what a true hero is.  A hero is a man like my Uncle Joe Saiz who is a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge.  To hear him speak to me this morning about his time in Europe was nothing short of awe inspiring.  Sadly, the day will come when he, along with many others will close their eyes for the last time and the importance of this day will hit home, again.

While this day is filled with gratitude it is also one filled with a deep sadness.  As people all around give thanks to those that served I can not but think about those men who I served with, at one time or another, who are no longer here.  Their names and faces cross my mind not only this day but almost every other day of the year.  The price they paid seems both unfair and senseless.  What a mad world we live in where some of its greatest inhabitants died in order to protect the well being of strangers.  So to those who are no longer here, I want to say Thank You. Thank you for teaching me the meaning of this day.  And most importantly, thank you for your service to this great country.

To those veterans around I want to thank you also.  Your deeds do no go unnoticed by me anymore.

And to my brothers who I had the extreme privilege to serve with:thank you for all you have done.  Words or even the greatest of actions can not express my gratitude to you all.  My entire  goal during my service was to make sure that each and everyone of you were able to come home and see your family.  While I didn’t keep up my end of the bargain I am so very thankful that I had men like you on my side to make sure that I did.  We may not always talk or keep in touch on a regular basis but not a day goes by that you all are not on my mind.

If you are able,
save for them a place
inside of you
and save one backward glance
when you are leaving
for the places they can
no longer go.
Be not ashamed to say
you loved them,
though you may
or may not have always.
Take what they have left
and what they have taught you
with their dying
and keep it with your own.
And in that time
when men decide and feel safe
to call the war insane,
take one moment to embrace
those gentle heroes
you left behind.

Major Michael Davis O’Donnell
1 January 1970
Dak To, Vietnam


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