Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day

By Rob Watson

Every Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and other times as well, veterans are asked to identify themselves. Almost always, someone or some few will pat me on the shoulder or shake my hand and say "Thank you!" I am truly humbled to be so recognized.

Usually I will pass it off with some form of "Aw, shucks. It weren't nothing." In my soul, I truly feel it was really nothing. I worked, mostly in an air conditioned shop. Was paid a fair wage. Learned a trade that became a significant component of my life's work. Came out with a good record that lead to good jobs. Yes, I feel I earned vastly more than I paid out.

I signed the same contract as all the others. That being a blank check, payable to the United States of America, for anything of myself, up to and including my life. I took the same oath as all the others... to protect and defend... against all enemies foreign and domestic...  I still feel bound by that contract and that oath.

Some of these others paid a little, time from their lives, small injuries, pain. Some others paid a lot, lost limbs, mental problems. Some had to pay the whole contract with their lives. Me? I paid nothing.

Words cannot express, pats and hand shakes, cannot convey, the gratitude I feel toward those who paid something on that contract. I am also exceedingly grateful for those, like myself, who willingly sign the contract and take the oath. Because, it takes all of us, plus taxpayers and citizens together, to make and keep the nation we have.

I am highly honored to claim and be called a veteran. With confidence in John Milton, "They also serve who only stand and wait." In gratitude and humility, I accept your pats on the shoulder, hand shakes, and kind words.

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