Thursday, November 12, 2009

What Is A Vet?

I was reading myself to sleep tonight and came across this piece written years ago. It's called "What Is A Vet?"

Thank you, veterans, for all of your sacrifices.

I also came across something a bit more salty, a bit more harsh, a bit more "colorful," so to speak. However, I think it brings the real fear of war home in a very visceral way.

I'm not going to post it in its entirety on my page, but suffice it to say, it is about as real world as it gets.

However, I *will* post "What Is A Vet?" below:



Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg – or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul’s ally forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can’t tell a vet just by looking.

What is a vet?

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn’t run out of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She or he—is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another—or didn’t come back AT ALL.

He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat—but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other’s backs.

He is the parade—riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean’s sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket—palsied now and aggravatingly slow—who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being—a person who offered some of his life’s most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That’s all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot, “THANK YOU.”

Remember November 11th is Veterans Day.

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”

Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, USMC

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day 2009!

Since I'm an inactive Jarhead, I hafta' give props to the USMC Silent Drill Team.



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy USMC Birthday!

Happy 234th birthday to the United States Marine Corps!

10 November, 1775 at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Here's the 2009 USMC Commandant's video message:

Semper Fi!


Friday, November 6, 2009

The Most Perfect Silence

Back in early 1996, I came across a website called It was devoted to the Great Books, Sonnets, and outstanding literature of all kinds.

I went to visit tonight, and found no trace of the original site. Every attempt ended with a page load error. So I conducted a search and found another site: Unfortunately, this one is on its last legs, with forums filled mostly with unkempt spam messages.

So sad to me is the demise of the "literary renaissance," and the death of the "literary resistance," that I conducted another search for one of my favorite poems published there, called "The Most Perfect Silence."

It turns out that someone had archived and published it on their site--so I've captured it and am publishing it as a tribute to Drake Raft, one of the founders of the "literary renaissance."

Here it T.I.issssssss:


The Most Perfect Silence

I know where the most perfect silence is,
Seen it in the wild blue off Hatteras,
A mile out, rainbowed sails in silent bliss,
Looked like they'd collide, but they safely passed.
I know when the most perfect silence is,
Down a dusty Ohio road, high noon,
No shirt on, being burned by the sun's kiss,
Sixteen, takin' my time-- it was still June.
I know what the most perfect silence is,
It's what we say when falling out of love,
It roars and thunders right through the kiss,
Says all that no words can ever speak of.
I know why the most perfect silence is,
It is there for the whisper to be born,
The whisper in her ear became the kiss,
Just a dream on the sea early one morn.
I know who the perfect silence is for,
It is for the ones whom we love the best,
It is there to protect them from our core,
By the silent trust we all seek to rest.
And I know how rare that silence can be,
With everyone talkin', it's hard to hear,
But I know I felt it, on the crests of waves,
The sound in her eyes-- it was crystal clear.
And it brought back to mind the rainbowed sails,
And the way it looked like they would collide,
Like two souls set upon fate's iron rails,
But the most perfect silence never died.

--Drake Raft


In case you were wondering, he's published some co-written stuff in hard copy form, which is available at Navigating an American Renaissance

The After Dark Field Book

Eternity in a Grain of Sand: The Most Perfect Silence of Poetry


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