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November 12, 2005

Noted in Passing.

Friday, November 11, 2005 by Scot H. Laney Bass fisherman There are things in this world that should not be commented on by those who have no actual grounding in the subject - no hands-on experience to pull from, no personal knowledge to fortify any sort of opinion on the matter.

War is one of those things for me. I have never experienced it in either its hot or cold form - have never risen to that challenge, made those kinds of sacrifices.

So I, like many others, can only imagine. We can read about the subject, see it on television and at the movies, but still not be equipped to carry one boot let alone be fitted for our own pair.

Let's face it, you've either been on the point of the spear or you have not. You have learned the hard lessons of life from the world's most unforgiving teacher or you have not. There is no opportunity to be "kind of" in this club. If you act as if you are, or are filled with some sense of bravado about what you would do if you ever were, then you have committed a gross felony on those who have. An abortion of human decency and respect to those who actually deserve it.

It seems to me that there is just no way to know the hardship, sorrow, kinship with one another, pride in a job well done, personal sacrifice, and sense of duty to something bigger and more worthwhile than ourselves, without going through that particular gauntlet.

So we (the uninitiated) are only left with a thank you on this day to the men and women who know what it means to be there, to have done it, and are doing it even now. Places with names like Lexington and Concord become Normandy and Tarawa, then Mount Baldy, Saigon, Mogadishu, Baghdad and a thousand other places in-between.

But the job is always the same. Protecting our way of life, that is. Taking it to them before they take it to us, here where we are. The cost is inscribed on marble walls, millions of white crosses, and deep lines on the faces - and cracks in the hearts - of the mothers and fathers of those who did not come back.

But that thank you, however sincere it is, regardless of how much significance we attach to it, seems to be so damn feeble. Somehow so much less than it should be for what some have done for the rest of us. Still, it is all that we have to offer on this day, and it is meaningful in that we owe it to you and you have earned it.

There are still people, lots of people, who believe this way in this great country. Regardless of what you read in the paper or see on the news, we believe in what you do now and what you have done before, and we honor you for it.

God bless the veterans.

I will add this. First Responders know. It's different, but not that much, in the end. H/t, Bill S.