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This blog exists only as an archive. It is a journal that serves as a window into my life as a Marine combat veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; it was written with no filter, no politics and no agenda. Please feel free to follow my journey from beginning to end. Welcome to my life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The 11th Hour, of the 11th Day, of the 11th Month...


Today, as many of you know, is Veteran's Day. My email box has already been flooded with thank yous and God bless yous, and I want you to know that I sincerely appreciate it. Being a veteran is certainly something that I am proud of, my whole life I looked at veterans with sincere admiration. Every time they were asked to stand to be honored at sports games, or when they marched down Main Street for every parade, I looked at them and thought about the things they had done, the things they had seen. I was too young to truly understand what it meant to fight for your country, I thought it was all parades and uniforms and funny hats with ribbons on them. I thought it would be neat to watch a movie some day and be able to say, "I was there, they're making a movie about what I did."

I guess part of that hasn't changed. I still look at veterans of Korea and Vietnam, even the occasional WWII vet, with admiration and awe. Wow, they were in a REAL war. I still feel like a kid when I see an old man with a "Frozen Chosin" hat, complete with embroidered campaign ribbons, or when I pass the motorcycle rider on the interstate wearing the Vietnam Veterans Riding Club leather jacket. It's weird for me to think that some people out there put me in that category. I guess technically I belong in it. By definition I'm a veteran, (in fact, we in 2/7 can now jokingly say that we're combat veterans x2 because of Afghanistan). I have my campaign medals and combat action ribbons, but for some reason they seem so insignificant.

But I guess it's like what every veteran ever says.

"It's no big deal, just doing my job."
"I only did it because all my friends were, I'm nothing special."

Whether it makes sense or not, whether we admit it or not, we only do it because the previous generations are our heroes. I can sit here with all honesty and tell you that what I have done pales in comparison to those that went before me.

So, with that, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all the thank yous. But today, don't waste them on me, I hear people's appreciation every day. My generation's warriors are the current flavor of the month. Make today a reason to call your Vietnam vet uncle and thank him, or your grandfather that spent weeks freezing in a fox hole in Korea. When you're walking down the street tomorrow, don't cross over to the other side to avoid the man holding the cardboard sign that reads "Veteran needs your help". Walk by, smile, and say hello and thank you.

So to all those who have gone before me, Thank You, and I hope that our efforts make you proud.

But fame is theirs - and future days
On pillar'd brass shall tell their praise;
Shall tell - when cold neglect is dead -
"These for their country fought and bled."
~Philip Freneau

3 comments:

  1. Thank you kinda seems inadequate, but thank you. Every generation of my family has served in every allied conflict for the last nearly 100 years including three of my brothers combat vets in Iraq and Afghanistan so I have grown up knowing something of what their sacrifices for generations were and what it means to us, and so Thank you! My friends’ , sisters and I have been supporting you and your team anonymously and we are glad you are home. Thanks again.

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  2. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Well Jake hate to burst your bubble but to my 8yo son you are his hero.
    He is not sure what he wants to be yet but he talks alot about being a Marine or Fireman.
    So thank you for all you do.
    bjshelhamer

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