Ben E. Weihrich

I AM A VETERAN

What did you do on Veteran’s Day? Go to the Big Veteran’s Day sale at the Big white sale at Kohl’s, the furniture sale at Ashley’s? I didn’t! I remembered our fallen veterans at the Permian Basin Vietnam Memorial at 1100 (11am) on the 11th day of the 11th month. Did you? Are you a veteran?

I reread some old letters written 60 years ago, 35 years ago or just yesterday from my son or daughter in Iraq or Afghanistan, from WW2 or ‘Nam. I have written the last letter home for the fallen brothers in ‘Nam to their parents, wife or his girlfriend. Did you? I’m a Veteran.

I cried at night because I could not save my Sarge from his fatal wounds. I flew back with his coffin to deliver his body to his mother, wife, or both. Did you? I have said the last rites over the dead Marines because there were no Sky pilots (chaplain) around to do it. Did you? I have, I’m a Veteran.

Have you knocked at the door of the parents and wife of the PFC who died four days ago and you were the unlucky Sarge to do the dirty duty? I was. Been punched out by an angry father cause he would not believe his son was dead or catch his mother in your arms cause she fainted. I have, I’m a Veteran.

Did you return from a tour in Hell (war) and, while waiting to be greeted by your parents or wife, get spat upon by some peace protesters at the airport? I have. Did your parents get greeted by peace protesters at your funeral, saying the God killed your because America protects homo’s? I did and did a Veteran walked between you and those protesters and said you will not hear this poop! I did, I’m that Veteran.

Have you smelled the burning flesh or the poison gas at Hitler’s final solution or release the living skeletons from their POW camps that held the survivors of the “Bataan March” in the Pacific. I have. I was that POW; I am that Veteran that relives the smell and the bodies of that day.

Do you lie awake at night hoping that the nightmares of the wars, the killings and everything did not invade your mind? I have those nightmares. Have you walked through the alleys, the back streets of your hometown looking for day old food to eat, slept on a cardboard box as your and had the same as a blanket, drinking “Mad Dog”? I have, I’m a Homeless Veteran.

Have you gone to the VA hospital and waited all day to see a doctor, or been waiting for five years to get a knee replacement? I have. Have you look into a Veteran’s eyes and seen for a 1,000 yards. I’m that Veteran. Have you gone deep into the woods and seen a simple shack where that crazy Veteran lives, knock on my door and open your heart. I bleed like you do and suffer as you do. I’m a Veteran.

This coming Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, don’t go the sales, go to the local Memorial and, for yourself, see what Veterans really do. We don’t shop, we cry, we don’t bargain to the lowest dollar, there’s no dollar valve for what we did and paid for. Please do yourself a favor and join an organization to helps VETERANS and our current Military in their fight on the WOT (WAR ON TERROR). It does not cost much. You might be surprised when one of us gives thanks to you for your support of Americans and America.

Marines: we live like soldiers, talk like sailors, and slap the hell out of both of them: warriors by day, lovers by night, professionals by choice, and Marines by the grace of God.