Friday, November 11, 2011

Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

By John Gilstrap

A debt we cannot repay.

It's Veteran's Day here in America.  To all who have served, thank you.  For everything.


  1. Oh blood of warriors bravely spilt
    on battle ground of sacrifice
    for stranger who in fear knew not
    from whence salvation were to ride

    Oh warrior’s blessed iron blade
    kept sheathed until the needy cry
    of those who do not know thy name
    yet they their lives on thee rely

    Oh spearmen of the sacred band
    shield wall formed, sword in hand
    to rescue those who evil’s damned
    we bind together for to stand

    Oh river that our brothers crossed
    let their souls ne’er be lost
    that we may meet in halls of mead
    hail the warriors who paid the cost

    Oh brothers now we mount the cloud
    ascending to the land above
    and joining who with courage proved
    than this there is no greater love

    Semper Fidelis
    Basil Sands

  2. You're welcome, Johh.

    Linda Adams
    US Army Reserve
    US Army
    Maryland National Guard
    Desert Shield/Storm

  3. John, thanks so much for this beautiful sentiment.

    I have made a practice of calling the Veterans I know on Veterans Day and thanking them for their service. For some of them, it's the only call they get, which, imho, is a tragedy. If you know of a Veteran in your circle of friends, please: pick up the phone and call them and thank them.

  4. My thanks to all who have served and prayers for those serving.

    Thanks to Joe specifically for his calls. My husband recounted finding, under his window wiper, a card thanking him for his service. It reduced him to tears. As a Vietnam vet, thanks to him were long in coming.

  5. Thank you so much, men and women who have served, and those who currently serve. We can never repay our debt.

    Speaking of which, let's not forget that we owe our veterans our full support, including access to the best available health care, when they return home.

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  7. Amen. A couple of years ago, in my family archives, I discovered a rolled up scroll. It was actually a small poster. It depicted a woman with a sword dubbing a WWI soldier, who was kneeling in front of her. The woman is "Columbia," the female image of the USA. And this was a specially commissioned rendering to give to the parents of soldiers who had given their lives, or been wounded, in the war. It was called "The Accolade of the New Chivalry of Humanity." It was for my great uncle, Ted Bell, who was a Marine killed in the battle of Belleau Wood. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

    I had it framed and it now hangs proudly on my wall at home.

    This is what it looks like, this version being for a wounded soldier.

    We need codes of honor and memorials. Nations cannot survive without them and the soldiers who embody their virtues.

  8. That photo is both gut-wrenching and stunningly beautiful.

    John, thanks for your salute to our veterans.

  9. One correction: Typing out my message this morning I put my dad's name in there, because he was nicknamed after my great uncle, whose full name was Frederick Hamilton "Ted" Fox. My dad served in WWII.

  10. Amen.

    We Canadians call today Remembrance Day.

    We will never forget.

  11. Sheesh. That kid's face is breaking my heart.

    I say, no more war! Pray for Peace. And if you are not religious/spiritual . . .well then dammit, WILL IT TO BE SO!!

    No more loss of humanity over inhumanity. That's not why we are here.

  12. I found this article about the picture on (May 4, 2007):

    The Boy Behind an Iconic Photo

    Heather Golczynski and her 8-year-old son Christian hold tightly to the memory of Marine Staff Sgt. Marc Golczynski.

    On March 27, just a few weeks before Marc Golczynski was to return home from his second tour in Iraq -- one he volunteered for -- he was shot on patrol and killed by enemy fire in al-Aanbar province.

    During a moment at the burial, Christian stepped forward to receive the flag for his father. The expression of grief on his young face was captured in a photo and became a powerful symbol for soldiers, their families and anyone who sees it.

    When asked about his dad by ABC News' Chris Cuomo, Christian said, "He was a hero. He helped our country."

    Different Messages Taken From Photo

    People around the country saw different messages in the photo.
    "I think there are a lot of views on the war and I think that different views portray different feelings in the picture," Heather said. "To me, I see the strength. I see the courage."

    Many people have wanted to talk to Christian about the photo. He said that they wanted to say, "Sorry."

    "Four years into this war people sometimes forget that there are still families in this country that have soldiers overseas," Heather said.
    Just days before he left for his second tour, Marc sent a letter to his family that would be his epitaph.

    "Due to our deep desire to finish the job we started, we fight and sometimes die so that our families don't have to. Stand beside us because we would do it for you. Because it is our unity that's enabled us to prosper the nation," Marc wrote.

    "Marc believed very much what he was doing was right," Heather said.
    Since Marc's death, letters of support and gifts have poured in for the family.

    But for all that his father may now represent to others, to Christian, Dad is the man who spent time with him and played, and who was teaching him about being a soldier.

    "He helped our country and tried to stop terrorists," Christian said.

    Marc Golczynski's commitment to his country has left his son fatherless. But that son still dreams of growing up one day and becoming a Marine.