Today, we spend a bit of time talking about making sure that this isn't just about barbecues and another day off.
Many of you who visit here are spending today like any other holiday; holding the line.
But being a soldier, and being a veteran, is like being a cop. For those of you in the Infantry, Artillery and Cav, un-bunch your panties for a second and allow me to make may way to making my point before you pass judgment on my brothers who may have had to break up a party or two that you guys called "just having fun" that may have involved a pig, some roller skates, 7 sorority girls, two bottles of Jack Daniels and a tennis racket (all of which fit in a BEQ room nicely)
Cops, just like soldiers, wake up everyday, maintain our equipment and our bodies, sand-table our next OP, put on that same equipment and go out and do our work. We do it because someone has to hold the line between tyranny and freedom and good and evil. It can be rewarding and fulfilling, but often, it is thankless and dirty and the work never pays what it should.
Some people call me "old school" for such absolutist thinking. I think that kind of thinking makes it so we can do the work of defending this country in bad neighborhoods with worse people and do it all hours of the day or night around the world. We end up missing more birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays than any of our friends, who never quite get what we do for a living.
And many times, when we do this kind of work, we lose friends along the way.
And that loss makes today a little bit sadder...
Some we lose to the stress of the job, because fighting evil really can take years off of your life. Some we lose to the ever present demands of family and home that tug at our elbows while we work; because spouses at home still need help with the kids, the car taken to the shop, and the occasional family outing. Some friends we lose to the work itself; sometimes in training for battle, and sometimes in battle.
That being said, I am comforted by the fact that I know that all the while, our families wait for us to come home in one piece while we wade through so much of this work, just so that we can spend the precious little time we have with them. It makes me sad that my friends Earl, Larry, and Bernard aren't going to be enjoying this day with their families, but I am happy to know that they knew what I know:
The world is a freer place because of them and the sacrifice of my brothers and sisters in arms and our fathers and grandfathers before us. Because of their sacrifice, the world is a better place to live in.
Those that have defended freedom have an appreciation of it that the defended will never know. It makes my burger taste a little sweeter, my potato salad a little colder, and my beer a little better. And for those of our comrades that never came home, we set a place at the table, leave that beer at the end of the bar and say a prayer for the time, many years from now, when we may stand together with them again in a much happier place.
Thank you to all the men and women who have stood for freedom and against tyranny, and especially to those who are not here to see the good work that they have done and the accolades they certainly are due for how much they and their families have given.
Earl, Larry and Bernard; I wish I could tell you that because of you, I appreciate this day even more now.
I would write more, but I am late and I have to go to work....