Recently I listened to the conversation of two men sitting in a booth behind me at McDonald's. They weren't speaking softly and I found their subject fascinating. They were two Veterans talking about their combat experiences; one in Vietnam and the other in Iraq. I listened as they discussed some horrific experiences. They seemed pretty angry over some of their memories; occasionally expressing bitterness toward some who had been in command over them. Their volume increased as they talked about having to "sweep" through an entire neighborhood without enough reinforcements or logistical support.
They talked about how people at Central Command "often have no idea what we go through on the ground, in real time, miles away." One guy pounded the table as he made his point. That prompted me to turn and sneak a peek at him. That's when I saw something I hadn't expected to see...tears streaming down his face as he recounted the pain of things that happened years ago.
We will likely never understand the hell so many have gone through to protect us from having to go through hell ourselves. For those men and women who have served, are serving, or will serve in the United States Armed forces, I salute you. We will never really know how you feel, but we can all say (and should)..."we are forever indebted to you for your service. Thank you.”
We will not forget. Ever.