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the forgotten vets all around us

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Today we stopped and said howdy to one of our neighbors. He is crippled up, in a wheelchair, on oxygen, yet still feisty. His name is Ralph. We met this spring because a self-appointed (and self-claimed) police 'aide' kept complaining about both of us for zoning violations. Nothing came of it, but she became quite the nuisance, driving past, taking photos of what she considered 'wrong' with our homes.

We became friends, enjoying Ralph's blunt honesty and strength of will, and his self-admitted stubbornness. His face lit up when I asked him if he was a Marine - he was. Crippled by agent orange, he was in Viet Nam, saw bloody action, yet remained steadfast in doing the right thing as he saw it. So when we drive by, we wave, honk, and sometimes stop by just to chat; I made him homemade jelly, and gave him some home-canned pears. He never asks for help, and is as independent as he can be with his disabilities. In an emergency, after the 87 year old widow across the street, Ralph is the first fellow we check on; he is always welcome here, and I know he would do the same for us if needed - he is that kind of guy.


Folks, there are unsung heroes all around us, living testimony to the strength of human will and courage. I wish only that I could get the world to not look away because their infirmities might be inconvenient or uncomfortable to behold, let alone deal with. Behind the infirm, sometimes old, sometimes crippled, sometimes mentally traumatized bodies and minds are the souls of warriors, and the hearts of Titans. Take a few moments to at least wave and acknowledge their existence whenever possible - they should not fight their personal battles alone. It only takes a second to smile and wave, and if you can chat a bit, so much the better.


OK, Im off the soap box now, thanks for letting me say this. When you honor your mother and your father, don't forget to honor the vets as well. Bless you for it.

Edited by kappydell
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Very well said, Kappy. I was just thinking of my friend "Chief" who was a Viet Nam Vet, part Mohawk and Cherokee, I used to be best buddies with here, who has passed on. Pancreatic cancer. I never knew til well into his last year on earth because he just stayed quiet about it. He was a POW in a 'river cage', for five years and did 3 official tours in Viet Nam and was captured, having parachuted into enemy territory and landed with a bamboo spike going through his foot. He was stuck and they saw him come down and heard him when he landed on that spike. He was well thought of in the area here and many youth he mentored work in LEO and such today. He taught me things about the Mohawks and the Cherokee relationship over the centuries and some bushcraft skills. He had PTSD but never would have let it hurt anyone and really was a super nice fellow , salt of the earth who respected the earth. I miss him very much.

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