Today is Veterans Day

Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old World War I veteran, attends the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He is holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who was killed in the Korean War.

Found on the net: Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old World War I veteran, attends the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial [1982]. He is holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who was killed in the Korean War.

We know nothing about this poet, or her poem; just that her name was Margaret I. Postgate, and it was first published in 1918. Her poem is quite meaningful today, as today is the day in which we celebrate the surviving veterans, rather than the fallen — and perhaps, show a little love to those of the living veterans who were changed forever by the experience.

As the fellow to the right, who has doubtless gone to his reward in the 34 years since the picture, shows us, we are bound one to the other in a long, unbroken line of service. May it ever be so.

The Veteran

We came upon him sitting in the sun —
Blinded by war, and left. And past the fence
Wandered young soldiers from the Hand & Flower,
Asking advice of his experience.

And he said this and that, and told them tales;
And all the nightmares of each empty head
Blew into the air. Then, hearing us beside —
“Poor kids, how do they know what it’s like?” he said.

And we sat there, and watched him as he sat
Turning his sockets where they went away;
Until it came to one of us to ask
“And you’re — how old?”
“Nineteen the 3rd of May.”

Have a thought, and a prayer if you’re a praying soul, for those worse off than ourselves, on this solemn day. And it would be meet and just to raise a glass with a fellow veteran.

11 thoughts on “Today is Veterans Day

  1. SPEMack

    To me, Veteran’s Day is harder than Memorial Day. Memorial Day is to honor the fallen; so one bats an eye if you sulk off to your den and see how much bourbon you can drink.

    But on Veteran’s Day you’re the one being honored and as such can’t help but think of your Joes that didn’t come home with the rest of the platoon. And how Danny, who died on his gun watching his sector, isn’t around to enjoy “free stuff day” as he called it after a bunch of Miller Lite one day at the lake.

  2. Keith

    I thank every vet I knowingly meet for there service and sacrifice. I met an older black man in Sam’s Club a few years ago with a Vietnam Vet hat. He looked the right age so I said TY. He seemed willing to talk a moment so I asked where he had been. When he mentioned the places I I Corp where the Marines were in that war and I said I knew where he was talking about and some of the history it seemed to make his day.

  3. Tom Stone

    When I drove into town this morning the streets were lined with American flags put out by the Boy Scouts. More than 1,000 flags.
    I thought of friends, relatives and neighbors.
    The price of freedom is blood, may we always be ready to pay that price and may is seldom be necessary

  4. Bill Robbins

    There remains a certain poignancy to what was called Armistice Day, until 1954. How quickly we forget the original significance of the 11th hour on the 11the day of the 11th month, when the guns of August went silent one last time.

    As a little kid during the 1960s, I remember going to the old VFW in my home town, which was located in a then little-used, undeveloped area. The VFW facility was a great big, old Tudor-style house. The kind of place you might see on Long Island (or, in this case, New York’s Westchester County) during the times of the Great Gatsby. The land surrounding the VFW would become my town’s municipal swimming pool complex. A huge Olympic pool, a medium-sized pool, a baby pool, and a diving pool, surrounded by grassy areas, overlooking a preexisting golf course. During the early days of that swimming pool, the VFW ran a little snack bar for the town’s pool patrons. Dads and moms and little kids buying hotdogs, serviced by old geezers tottering around behind the bar. Those old geezers were WWI veterans! Imagine that! Before long, the town tore down the VFW. If I recall correctly, the new place was erected in another part of town, built in that nondescript, uninspired, late 1960s-early 1970s style red brick, block-house style. Something fit for the returning Vietnam vets. My, how the time slips by. The WWI vets are gone. just shy of 100 years after they shipped out to France to join the carnage.

  5. Sommerbiwak

    Today is also Saint Martin’s Day. A true veteran as in formerly imperial roman legionaire.

  6. Pathfinder

    I went to see a friend today. He is in hospice care. Don’t know how long he has, but for the most part his mind is still clear. His heart is just worn out.

    Gibby is a grunt, CIB holder and Paratrooper. Lied about his age and got in on the last year of Korea.

    Here’s another Veteran to keep in your thoughts and prayers.

  7. Alan Ward

    In the GWN today is called Remembrance Day, as it is in most of the old Empire. Our May long weekend was a celebration of Queen Victoria’s birthday for many years prior to WWI.
    So we celebrate our surviving vets whilst we mourn those who gave their all at the same time.
    A local tradition that started a few years back was school kids putting miniature Canadian flags beside the headstones of the fallen. It has now spread nation wide and is a great way to teach the new generations the meaning and importance of Remembrance Day.
    Unfortunately, it is not a national holiday. There are four provinces who treat it like a regular day, shame on them.

    1. John M.

      USA’s Memorial Day began as Decoration Day, when the dead of the Union Army were commemorated by putting flags, flowers and such on their graves.

      -John M.

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