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Yesterday my son came to me and said he wanted to do something special for Memorial day. So I asked him what he wanted to do. He said to me let's go to the VA hospital and visit some of the vets there. As we walked through the doors there was an older guy and gal talking. After a few minutes he asked the man if he was a vet. The man replied Yes I am. I was in Pearl Harbor the day the Japs bombed us. He went on to say that was the best and worst day of his life. The worst because of all the devastation and friends killed and the best because it was also the day he met his wife. That wonderful lady sitting next to him They have been married 67 years. For 3 hours that sailor told him about Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima, Pearl Harbor and Midway. No better history lesson could ever be taught than by the people who were there. Now you ask why is this special? This morning at 3am Master Chief Petty officer Johnathon Sullivan passed away in his sleep. he fought in 3 major wars and spent an afternoon with a 16 year old boy and his dad on Memorial day talking about why this day was so special. Oh yeah he had 3 ships shot out from under him. Uss West virgina (Pearl Harbor), USS Yorktown (Midway) and USS Princeton (Leyte Gulf)

You may not know me the first time we meet,
I’m just another you see on the street.
But I am the reason you walk and breathe free.
I am the reason for your liberty,
I am a veteran.

I work in the local factory all day,
I own the restaurant just down the way,
I sell your insurance…
I start your IV,
I’ve got the best looking grandkids you’ll ever see.
I’m your grocer, your banker, your child’s schoolteacher.
I’m your plumber, your barber, your family’s preacher.
But there’s part of me you don’t know very well.
Just listen a moment, I’ve a story to tell.
I am a veteran.

I joined the service while still in my teens,
I traded my prom dress for camouflage greens.
I’m the first in my family to do something like this.
I followed my father like he followed his.
Defying my fears and hiding my doubt,
I married my sweetheart before I shipped out.
I missed Christmas, then Easter.
The birth of my son.
But I knew I was doing what had to be done.

I served on the battle front, I served on the base.
I bound up the wounded and begged for God’s grace,
I gave orders to fire,
I followed commands,
I marched into conflict in far distant lands.
In the jungle, the desert, on mountains and shores,
In bunkers, in tents, on dank earthen floors.
While I fought on the ground, in the air, on the sea,
My family and friends were home praying for me.
For the land of the free and the home of the brave,
I faced my demons in foxholes and caves.
Then one dreaded day, without drummer or fife,
I lost an arm, my buddy lost his life.

I came home and moved on, but forever was changed.
The perils of war in my memory remain.
I don’t really say much. I don’t feel like I can,
But I left home a child,
And came home a man.

There are thousands like me,
Thousands more who are gone,
But their legacy lives as time marches on.
White crosses in rows,
And names carved in cue,
Remind us of what these brave souls had to do.

I’m part of a fellowship,
A strong mighty band,
Of each man and each woman,
Who has served this great land.
And when old glory waves,
I stand proud,
I stand tall,
I helped keep her flying over you, over all,
I am a veteran.

By Andrea C. Brett
Copyright 2009

This is for all Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard!!

A Soldier's Final Inspection

The Soldier stood and faced God
Which must always come to pass
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as bright as his brass.

"Step forward you Soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't
Because those of us who carry guns
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work on Sundays
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep.
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just to steep,

And I never passed a cry for help
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,
Lord, It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,
You've borne your burden well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."

... Author Unknown


ok check this out, A reservist/Guardsmen with over 20 years and 3 deployments to Iraq/Stan and under 60 if they retire and want medical they will have to pay over $900.00/mo for coverage until they reach age 60. the only other option is the VA where they wait for 6 months to see a doc that is so over worked the quality of care can be horrid. Did you know that our President and the former congress would not pass this bill if the retiree did not should ALL the cost? no contribution from the country that called them. Now service connected disabilities after you fight like hell to get them will always be covered by the VA. This angers me to no end.  

Michael Marks

A SOLDIER’S CHRISTMASThe 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 sleepIn 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 eye 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 dark of the night,A lone figure stood; his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years oldPerhaps 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 lightThen he sighed and he said, “It’s 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 lineThat 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 ‘NamAnd 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 anotherOr lay down my life with my sisters and brothersWho stand at the front against any and all,To insure for all time that this flag will not fall.”

“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no frightYour 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 forgetTo 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 bledIs payment enough, and with that we will trust.That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”

©Copyright December 7, 2000 by Michael Mark

The four Soldiers sat around an olive drab painted footlocker playing cards. Actually, the group was comprised of three Soldiers and one Marine, all wearing desert camouflage uniforms, their blouses removed exposing brown t-shirts, not because they were hot, rather it was just more comfortable to have them off. “Let’s go for six Top,” the Marine Captain said to his partner. “Six it is then Sir,” First Sergeant McNeely agreed. Julian McNeely was from Newark, New Jersey and had served in this man’s army for just over 17 years. He took a lot of shit for his first name while coming up through the ranks, especially while at basic training, but only his brother got away with ribbing him about it in recent years. Julian McNeely’s partner in this game of spades was Captain Mike Williams from Sarasota, Florida. Private First Class Williams attended the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia and graduated as Second Lieutenant Williams on September 9, 2001. He enjoyed playing cards with Top McNeely and the men, it kept his mind off of missing his wife and daughter. Sergeant Booker B. Washington grew up in Montgomery, Alabama before enlisting in the Army the day after he graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in May of 2002, where his picture still hangs as the All-American quarterback who took the Generals to the state championship two years in a row. Booker B. Washington turned down several scholarship offers from colleges and universities like Notre Dame, Syracuse, Clemson, and the most tempting, the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide. In his 18 year old heart, young Booker knew he was to be a Soldier first, before anything else. “I can go three myself sergeant,” Private First Class Brian Velleux of Newport, Maine told his partner, Sergeant Washington. “OK, we’ll go five and set them ‘V’,” the sergeant said confidently. Brian Velleux disappointed his parents by joining the Army a little over a year ago. He was supposed to play professional hockey and make a ton of money and buy his parents a house in Florida and have fake teeth and bad knees and a BMW. He never really liked playing hockey; the early morning practices, the long ass drives to play 90-minutes of “chase the puck,” and the never living up to his father’s expectations on the ice. Brian Velleux loved being a Soldier had aspirations to one day be a noncommissioned officer like Sergeant Washington. “Damn.” Captain Williams said, throwing his cards down onto the makeshift table after being set by the younger team. His partner grinned slightly, knowing the young officer had bid bigger than he had in his hand. “We ought to start making our way to the station,” the first sergeant announced looking at his watch. Captain Williams reflexively asked, “We got someone coming in Top?” “Yeah, we got another Soldier comin’ home,” McNeely answered as he placed the deck of cards dead center of the footlocker and put on his blouse. “Let’s go greet him ‘V’,” Sergeant Washington announced standing up, likewise putting on his blouse. As the train pulled into the station, Corporal Carmen Sanchez marveled at the number of people awaiting their arrival, waving banners and holding signs all welcoming them. When she stepped off the train, Corporal Sanchez was greeted by Captain Williams and First Sergeant McNeely first, with a firm handshake and a pat on the back. “Welcome home Sanchez,” McNeely said with all sincerity as he gripped her hand with his right, his left hand on her shoulder, and his eyes looking into her soul. Carmen Sanchez joined the Army three years ago to the day in El Paso, Texas though she was originally from Honduras. Her parents immigrated to America when she was 13 years old, determined to give their daughter a future filled with freedom, liberty, and opportunities. The melodic sounds of a band playing patriotic music caught her ear as she passed by countless numbers of people welcoming and thanking her, when Corporal Sanchez realized that she was the only Soldier on the train. Though there were other civilians disembarking, the “welcoming party” was solely for her. Tears welled in her dark brown eyes. The original group of four received Corporal Sanchez as if they had known her forever. The card games continued, rotating Carmen into the mix while the “odd man” out took care of keeping score and maintaining refreshments. She quickly noticed that it didn’t seem to matter who partnered with Captain Williams, his team never won a game. On her third day at home, Devlin Thomas, a tall blonde haired reporter in his mid to late twenties from New York, New York, who had taken the train with Corporal Sanchez, stopped by to see her. “Hey Devlin,” Carmen Sanchez said looking up from her cards held in a fan with her left hand in front of her. “Hi Carmen, how are you managing?” the reporter somberly asked. “Fabulously! And you?” she responded slapping down the Queen of Spades, trumping that hand. Devlin Thomas, junior reporter for the New York Times, just kind of shrugged in response, staring off into the distance, longing to be someplace else. “Would you like a soft drink or some bottled water sir?” Private First Class Velleux asked, interrupting Mr. Thomas’ trance. “Ah, no thank you,” Thomas answered. “Where are you from Private Velleux?” he asked the young Soldier. “I’m from Maine sir,” replied Brian Velleux. Devlin Thomas then slipped into his reporter persona asking harder hitting questions of the young private, “Why are you here? Is it worth it? Aren’t you angry?” Private First Class Velleux refused to answer. A little later, Sergeant Washington was the “odd man” out and found himself talking with Devlin Thomas who took a bit of a different approach. “You married sergeant?” he asked with a sincere tone to his voice. “Yep, to my high school sweetheart; she’s a runway model. Well, she is when she walks up and down our hallway. She gave me three beautiful babies, two girls and a boy and truth is I miss that woman, and them kids,” he added quickly. “Well, aren’t you angry with the Army, the government, for taking you away from them?” Thomas asked. “Angry?” Sergeant Washington asked, confused by the question. “Why in the hell would I be angry? I’m here so that they can live safely there. I want my kids to grow up tasting, smelling, and breathing freedom, not misery, not oppression, not shackled. I’m happy that I’ve helped to make that happen for them in my own small way.” Devlin Thomas seemed to take offense to the answer, angrily arguing, “But you’ll never see them again! They’ll never see you again! You’re dead!! We’re all dead and why in the hell are you all so damned happy about that?!?!” A hush fell over the card game as all four players focused their attention on the angry reporter when First Sergeant McNeely slowly stood up. “Mr. Thomas, you are correct, we’re dead, but there are no tears in Heaven. We’ve each given all that we had to give for our country, what is it you would like to know sir?” the salty old NCO asked. “Well, I mean, isn’t anyone else besides me pissed off that their lives have come to an end?” he asked incredulously. Captain Williams spoke up, “Top, sit down please, you too Mr. Thomas and you too Sergeant Washington. We’ve got plenty of time to play cards,” a slight smile crossed the first sergeant’s face. “Let’s talk awhile,” the officer offered. “Devlin,” Carmen Sanchez began, “I’m not angry at all and I left behind a little boy. Ernesto is three and a half years old; he lives with my momma now. I used to miss him terribly, especially at night, lying on my cot in the tent at FOB Mercury just outside Mosul, but since I’ve been here my sadness is gone. I’m so happy that he’s safe and free that my heart no longer aches for him, instead it swells with pride.” Devlin Thomas, unmarried and with no children, could not fathom Corporal Sanchez’s reasoning and said as much. “Well, what about you Captain?” he continued, “Don’t you miss your wife and little girl? Aren’t you mad that you had to die in a fiery helicopter crash depriving Chrissy of her daddy?” “I do miss my wife Mr. Thomas, I miss her every time I’m away from her, that’s called love. Likewise, I miss my daughter Chrissy, she’ll be six next week by the way, but I must say, emphatically, that she has not been deprived of her daddy. I am her daddy and when she thinks of me, speaks of me, dreams of me, I’m overwhelmed with joy that she’ll know I’m in Heaven continuing to watch over her and her mother. This isn’t about my death Mr. Thomas, it’s about my life, and just as with my comrades here, my life ended for a purpose, for a greater good.” “How do you know that she knows you’re still her daddy, her protector? How do you know that she knows your in Heaven?” the reporter pressed. “And by the way, you call this Heaven?” A few smiles appeared on the faces of those who had been there for awhile before Captain Williams responded, “I know, Mr. Thomas, because each night I hear my Chrissy’s prayers, one of the perks for being here, and no, I don’t call this Heaven, this is the port of embarkation, Heaven is over there, through those gates,” he said pointing to his left. “Then why are you here, and not there?” the reporter snipped pointing at the very gates Captain Williams had. “We volunteered to be here sir,” First Sergeant McNeely flatly explained. “You see, no Soldier, Marine, Sailor, Airmen, or Coast Guardsmen ought to arrive to Heaven without a proper greeting. It’s the least we can do considering their sacrifices. And I’d like to add, that through those gates are at least a thousand others who have volunteered to take our place here.” After a few moments of silence, Devlin Thomas tried again asking, “What about you Private Velleux? Surely you see the travesty in dying at such a young age, your life wasted?” Brian Velleux felt his face flush with anger but held it in check after a reassuring look from Sergeant Williams. Taking a deep breath before answering, the young Soldier said, “With all due respect sir, my life was not wasted. My life was spent defending your right to publish articles in your newspaper criticizing my life. My life made a difference in providing the very freedoms you take for granted to a group of people who still don’t understand what freedom means. My life ended while saving a school full of young Afghan girls from an IED that was meant to kill them all. My life was not wasted sir.” Several moments passed before a word was spoken. “I’m sorry Private, excuse me, Brian, I didn’t mean to offend you and I was out of line, the truth is, I respect what your life represents,” Devlin Thomas sheepishly replied. Turning to the entire group he asked, “If I might, I’d like to ask just one last question but before I do, I’d like to say how honored I am to be here among this group and I apologize if I came off antagonistic.” “If you were offered your lives back, a second chance if you were, to leave Heaven and go back, would you take it?” All five answered yes and the New York Times reporter felt that he had found the thread that would validate his original position when First Sergeant McNeely said, “And I’d go back to Iraq to finish the job I started.” “I would too,” Corporal Sanchez offered. “Same here,” Sergeant Washington added, “my Soldiers need me.” “As would I,” added Captain Williams. “And I’d go back to Afghanistan, in a heartbeat,” pronounced Private First Class Velleux. Seeing that Devlin Thomas was stunned by their replies, First Sergeant McNeely offered, “Mr. Thomas, we don’t belong in Heaven, we belong on the battlefield, on the front lines defending America and our way of life, but we’re here, our missions complete, we only pray that there will be others to follow our paths so that those who follow your path can continue to publish newspapers, and our kids can continue to ride buses free from fear. It sucks to be dead Mr. Thomas, but it is truly blissful to know that America remains free. Rest assured sir, there are no tears in Heaven, no tears.” Speechless, Devlin Thomas stood in awe of these people for what seemed like a very long time when First Sergeant McNeely broke the silence. “We ought to start making our way to the station,” the first sergeant announced looking at his watch. “Care to join us Mr. Thomas?” Sgt Hook out. http://sgthook.com/2006/04/10/no-tears-in-heaven/


This poem moved me like no other: Hello, David--my name is Dusty. I'm your night nurse. I will stay with you. I will check your vitals every 15 minutes. I will document inevitability. I will hang more blood and give you something for your pain. I will stay with you and I will touch your face. Yes, of course, I will write your mother and tell her you were brave. I will write your mother and tell her how much you loved her. I will write your mother and tell her to give your bratty kid sister a big kiss and hug. What I will not tell her is that you were wasted. I will stay with you and I will hold your hand. I will stay with you and watch your life flow through my fingers into my soul. I will stay with you until you stay with me. Goodbye, David---my name is Dusty. I'm the last person you will see. I'm the last person you will touch. I'm the last person who will love you. So long, David--my name is Dusty. David--who will give me something for my pain? ©1987 by Dusty "Hello, David" originally appeared in "Shrapnel in the Heart," Random House, 1987. "Hello, David" is on the Greater Rochester, NY Vietnam Memorial (Select Service of Women
You know I don't write much but today I decided to share some thoughts; I ermember that morning I woke up in Maui, turned the TV on and Foxnews was showing Tower 1 falling. I couldn't believe my eyes as the tower fell. I was a young boy watching those towers go up from my front yard in New Jersey and in an instant they fell, with them fell Americas innocence. We could not only be attacked in our house but we were powerless to stop it. 6 of my HS friends lost their lives that day. Today we sit here at our computers feeling safe and secure. Politics aside we live in a country that is as safe as can be from those that would hurt us. One last thought, Remember Flight 93, it crashed in a PA field because AMERICANS said that their lives were not going to be taken in vain. They stood up as one and kicked the shit out those terrorists. They stood as one and said we will not let you do this in our country. here's a little case of down home American Whoop ass. Let's roll!!!!
Aloha Everyone, just a quick rant as to what has happened to Lost Cherry oops, Cherrytap OOps again, FUBAR. Since the begining it was fun and no BS, now it has turned into what we feared the most... Myspace with nudity. Now There are a lot of great folks out there. I have rated everyone of them 10's of course. I may not be a chatter or a louge lizard but I do rate and comment when neccesary. TO all of you on my friends list who never ask for blasts and other shit like that Thank you. I will always rate your bombs and pics and never ask to see your private folders. I also will never leave rude or inappropriate comments on your pics of pages. Maybe one day this place will return to the glory it once was. As for the friggen bouncer thing, that just pisses me off. Oh and BTW i folded and post a damn salute pic so get off my friggen back. If I have missed fanning you or rating pics let me know and I will get ya soon. I actually do it the old way.. one pic at a time. tedious but hey why cheat. Have a great weekend all. Sarge
Signs that you're dealing with a local... They have a separate circuit breaker for their rice cooker. Only NOW they know that cilantro is the same as Chinese parsley. They measure the water for the rice by the knuckle of their index finger. They know which market sells poi on which days. They know that Char Sung Hut is closed on Tuesday. They can handle shoyu with green mango, li hing mui gummy bears, raw egg on hot rice, and pearl tea (carnation milk in hot water with sugar) with creme crackers. Their refrigerator has half-empty jar of mango chutney from the '95 Punahou Carnival. The condiments at the table are shoyu, ketchup, chili peppah watah, and kimchee. Also, takuwan, Hawaiian salt, slice onion, and pickle onion. They go to Maui and their luggage home includes potato chips, manju, cream puffs, and guri guri for omiyage. They think the four food groups are starch (rice), Spam, fried food, and fruit punch. A balanced meal has three starches: rice, macaroni, and bread. They know 101 ways to fix their rubber slippers -- 50 using tape, 50 using glue, and one using a stick to poke the strap back in. They sometimes use their open car door for a dressing room. They wear two different color slippers together and they don't mind. Nice clothes means a T-shirt without puka. They are barefoot in most of their elementary school pictures. They have a slipper tan. Their only suit is a bathing suit. They drive barefoot. They have at least five Hawaiian bracelets. They never ever, under any circumstances, wear socks with slippers, or an aloha shirt that matches their wife's muumuu. They still call the Blaisedell Center the HIC and it's Sandy's, not Sandy Beach. They say "I going go for lawnmower da grass" when they mean "I'm going to mow the lawn." They can understand every word Bu Lai'a says and they know what his name means....and who he is. They have a sister, cousin, auntie, or mom named "Honey Girl" or..... Someone in the family named Boy, Tita, Bruddah, Sonny, Bachan, Taitai, Popo, or Vovo. They still chant "Hanaokolele" when a friend or co-worker goofs up. They say "Shtraight," "Shtreet," and "Shtress." They say "Da Kine" and the other person says "Da Kine" and they both know what is "Da Kine." The "Shaka" and the "Stink Eye" are worth a thousand words. They're shopping at Epcot Center at Disneyworld and they may say something to their sister and a complete stranger says, "You're from Hawai'i, aren't you?" They feel guilty leaving a get-together without helping clean up. The idea of taking something from a heiau is unthinkable. They call everyone older than themselves "Aunty" or "Uncle" and they kiss everyone in greeting and farewell. They let other cars ahead of them on the freeway and they give shaka to everyone who lets them in. (And get mad if someone they let in doesn't say thanks.) Their philosophy is "Bumbai." They would rather drag out the compressor and fill that leaking tire every single morning than have it fixed. The only time they honk their horn is once a year during the safety check. If a child needs a home, they give him one. She/He becomes "Hanai." They can live and let live with a smile in their heart. Owns two types of slippers: da "good slippas" and da "buss-up/stay home slippas." Does not understand the concept of North, South, East, and West, but instead gives directions as Mauka, Makai, Diamond Head, Ewa, and uses landmarks instead of street names. The first thing they look for in the Sunday paper is the Long's ad. They take off their slippahs before going into the house. You ask what year they grad and where they grad from, and then you say "eh you know so and so..." They understand all the Hawaiian words and pidgin used here...and laugh because they know it's true When it's done, they say "pau!"
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