It inspires me when I think how brag-worthy veterans’ deeds are, yet they are modest and sincere in what they do. The veterans that I have had the pleasure of meeting have never once told me about the reason for why they earned their medals. The situations they found themselves in and the crazy ass shit they endured to get through the challenges of the front line of battle are astounding.
These stories have always come to me from buying them drinks, earning their trust, and much prodding. This to me is the measure of the man, how things that they have done that they don’t brag about or even talk about, really.
Using drinking as a catalyst I attempt to get them to talk about their stories. These are people that go into the harshest and most violent areas on earth with full knowledge of what they are facing for a goal that is to preserve, not themselves, but an entire nation.
Making very little profit these heroes go out and sacrifice their life, not for us, them, or any single person but simply because this is who they are. That is the feeling in their heart that is what drives them. To stand up at any time to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
There is a scene from the movie American Sniper that perfectly encapsulates this ideal. The older brother beats up a kid at school who was bullying his little brother. His father makes a speech at the dining room table. To paraphrase… “There are three types of people in this world:
1. there are sheep who are content to follow;
2. there are wolves, who feed on the weak;
3. there are shepherds, those who fight the wolf to protect the sheep.
In the scene, after the father describes these three people, he asks his son the question: which one are you?
I have not seen a more noble trait than the shepherd. To sacrifice one’s self for the protection of others is what veterans chose to do every day.
I listen to a morning radio station and at the very end of every broadcast the host always ends it with a very simple message/sign off… and this is what I will leave you with: “Remember folks if you see someone serving in the armed forces don’t forget to shake their hand and thank them for their service.”
Greg “The Godfather” Kretschmar