|East Hampton Town
Remember Our Vets
As we approach Memorial
Day, I'd ask you and your readers to consider the following and remember
our Veterans in next weeks pre-Memorial Day issue of The Star with stories
or tributes of their own.
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 and
death. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept
America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a veteran just
by looking. He is the local cop 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 thousand times
in the grand scheme of things 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 proudly 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 man has 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".
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.
Our Memorial Day events
begin at 9:00AM sharp on May 29, 2000 at Main Beach with a dedication and
prayer to those servicemen lost at sea followed by the Town parade at 10:30AM.
Show your support for our Veterans with an enthusiastic round of applause
as they pass by. They're the finest kind.
Barry W. Leach
1st Vice Commander (elect)
East Hampton Town American Legion Post 419
PO Box 53
East Hampton, NY 11937