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got this as an e-mail thought id pass it on


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If the Red shirt thing is new to you, read below...

Last week, while traveling to Chicago on business, I noticed a Marine

sergeant traveling with a folded flag, but did not put two and two together.

After we boarded our flight, I turned to the sergeant, who\'d been invited to

sit in First Class (across from me), and inquired if he was heading home.

No, he responded.

Heading out I asked?

No. I\'m escorting a soldier home.

Going to pick him up?

No. He is with me right now. He was killed in Iraq , I\'m taking him home to

his family.

The realization of what he had been asked to do hit me like a punch to the

gut. It was an honor for him. He told me that, although he didn\'t know the

soldier, he had delivered the news of his passing to the soldier\'s family

and felt as if he knew them after many conversations in so few days.

I turned back to him, extended my hand, and said, Thank you. Thank you for

doing what you do so my family and I can do what we do.

Upon landing in Chicago the pilot stopped short of the gate and made the

foll owing announcement over the intercom.

\"Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to note that we have had the honor of

having Sergeant Steeley of the United States Marine Corps join us on this

flight. He is escorting a fallen comrade back home to his family. I ask that

you please remain in your seats when we open the forward door to allow

Sergeant Steeley to deplane and receive his fellow soldier. We will then

turn off the seat belt sign.\"

Without a sound, all went as requested. I noticed the sergeant saluting the

casket as it was brought off the plane, and his action made me realize that

I am proud to be an American.

So here\'s a public Thank You to our military Men and Women for what you do

so we can live the way we do.

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That truly is a moving story. Hope that it is true. When i was at the Wall on the 10th, I got to meet some of our present day service men. Just informally, and sort of at random. The one thing struck me was HOW DAMN YOUNG they are. I stood at the wall for a bit by a young PFC. He turned and I guess from my beret and all he recognized I was a vet, and he said, with a hint of a tear\" This is certainly moving.\" I patted him on the shoulder, shook his hand, and said\"Thank you for what you are doing now.\" He answered,\" Thank you, sir,for what you did before.\" I know a lot of you guys out there have sons and daughters in the military, and if they are anything like some of the ones I have met, oh say for over the past year, you have every right to be proud of them. Maybe someday, there will not be any stories like the one in this posting, but until then, guys, I think we are protected well. Let\'s not forget them when THEY come home! ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just got this poem in an e-mail as well. I thought that it was appropriate.


A different Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,

I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.

My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,

My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,

Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,

Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,

Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.

In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,

So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn\'t loud, and it wasn\'t too near,

But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.

Perhaps just a cough, I didn\'t quite know,

Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,

And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the d ark of the night,

A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,

Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.

Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,

Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

\"What are you doing?\" I asked without fear,

\"Come in this moment, it\'s freezing out here!

Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,

You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!\"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,

Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..

To the window that danced with a warm fire\'s light

Then he sighed and he said \"Its really all right,

I\'m out here by choice.

I\'m here every night.\"

\"It\'s my duty to stand at the front of the line,

That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,

I\'m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at \'Pearl on a day in December,\"

Then he sighed, \"That\'s a Christmas \'Gram always remembers\"

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of \' Nam \',

And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I\'ve not seen my own son in more than a while,

But my wife sends me pictures, he\'s sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,

The red, white, and blue.... an American flag.

I can live through the cold and the being alone,

Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,

I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.

I can carry the weight of killing another,

Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..

Who stand at the front against any and all,

To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.\"

\"So go back inside,\" he said, \"harbor no fright,

Your family is waiting and I\'ll be all right.\"

\"But isn\'t there something I can do, at the least,

\"Give you money,\" I asked, \"or prepare you a feast?

It seems all too little for all that you\'ve done,

For being away from your wife and your son.\"

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,

\"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.

To fight for our rights back at home while we\'re gone,

To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,

To know you remember we fought and we bled.

Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,

That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.\"



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