Today is the 4th of July, the day America celebrates our freedom. And I'm a little sad. And a whole lot afraid. I think most people still feel patriotic on this day. Some may even shed a tear of pride when the fireworks explode overhead and a band plays America The Beautiful and God Bless America. But I'm sad because I don't think most people really understand what it took to win our freedom and what it takes to keep it. And they don't fully appreciate the ones who paid the price - the individual soldiers, sailors, and airmen. And with the way things are going now, I'm very afraid our way of life, America's very soul, is being lost. It seems we no longer have the will or the fortitude it takes to win a war. We certainly have the means, just not the guts. No longer are the enemies of America afraid to take us on. It is us that has become afraid. Afraid of unleashing our weapons and soldiers on our enemies until they, their supporters, their friends and even their goats, sheep and dogs are dead or have surrendered and there is no one left to fight; afraid of expecting immigrants to learn to speak English; afraid of letting the lazy go hungry; afraid of not giving murderers and child rapist more "rights" than their victims. Yes, I'm very afraid for America. We have forgotten that we can't buy off our enemies no matter how many billions of dollars we give them. We have forgotten that you can't buy democracy and freedom. It has to be earned and paid for by the people who are willing to give up their lives in the fight for it - individual soldiers, sailors, and airmen.

A Soldier Died Today
by A. Lawrence Vaincourt
reprinted by permission

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 whereof 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 an 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 their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest 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 of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?

A politician'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 now 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 Country and would fight until the end?

He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us we may need his like again.
For when 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 homage at the 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.


This one is for my Navy buddies who always had my back, even when I didn't know I needed it.

The difference between civilian friends and Veteran friends:

Civilian friends get upset if you are too busy to talk to them for a week.
Veteran friends are glad to see you after years have gone by and will happily carry on the same conversation you were having the last time you were together.

Civilian friends will leave you behind if that's what "the crowd" is doing.
Veteran friends will kick the crowd's ass that left you behind.

Civilian friends are for a while.
Veteran friends are for life.

Civilian friends have shared a few experiences with you.
Veteran friends have shared a lifetime of experiences no citizen could ever dream of.

Civilian friends will take your drink away when they think you've had enough.
Veteran friends will look at you stumbling all over the place and say, "You'd better drink the rest of that before you spill it!" and then carry you home safely and put you to bed.

To all my veteran friends, thanks for being my buddy. I love you, man.