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Sit back and think about your past.
Think about those cold, dusty nights you spent in the desert... dark
and without a moon, winds whistling down from the Kandahar
mountains, chilling your bones as you quietly checked the guard
posts along the perimeter... slowly making your way from post to
post, to make sure your troops were more awake than those of the
Think back to those hot, sweaty days in the jungle... the ones
punctuated with short, fierce firefights that started without
warning, and just as quickly broke off without resolve... as the
enemy slinked back into the steamy jungle they came from, rather
than risk a fight to the finish.
Think back to those dark, damp corners you probed in the bombed out
buildings along the Rhine... the ones you peered into as night fell,
looking for a safe place to slouch in sleep until dawn... or until
the next barrage of 88s woke you.
Remember again the feeling of pain in your eyes as you fought to
block the searing bright sun from obscuring your LZ...
struggling as you could to get your sight back as you brought your
chopper in to Medivac a few wounded... looking down at them,
writhing on the ground, as squad members stood protectively over
them, M-16s hanging limply by their sides... peering up at you as
though you were a spirit from heaven... hot winds blowing against
the back of your neck, as the clack-clack-clack of the door gunner's
.30-cal threw lead into the bush.
Remember? Remember those guys who walked with you? The ones that
never came back? Their names you may have forgotten... what was his
name? That guy in the BOQ next to mine? The one who was always first
to buy beers at the club? The one who never stopped smiling? What
was his name... the one who went down in a chopper crash as he flew
around bringing payroll to his troops in the field? What was his
name? Lieutenant... Lieutenant... ah shit, I can't seem to remember.
You may have forgotten their names, but their faces, their smiles,
their camaraderie... and especially what they gave so that we can be
free today... these things will live forever in our minds.
Lift a beer to them this Memorial Day.