We Stand On the Shoulders of Giants

We stand on the shoulders of giants.

We stand on the shoulders of men who didn’t have a choice. Who were plucked from their families, dressed in camis, given a rucksack, and thrown into hell. Who were lucky to come home from the swamps and the ash and the mixture of mud, blood, and shrapnel that rained upon them. Lucky to live in another hell the remaining days of their lives. To survive a time when Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines were spit at, scoffed at, called names, and were turned to the streets in droves to live among the homeless in a country who needed them but would never welcome them back. Once, one of my uncles turned his face from a swamp he passed. “I hate them,” he said. It’s the only war story I know from the three of them: Rick. Jan. Gary. My giants.

We stand on the shoulders of men and women who stood beside us. Laughed at our intern jokes. Never missed a commissioning or promotion ceremony. Gave us our first salute in exchange for a 2011 silver dollar coin. Kissed our cheeks outside of the pub where he’d take his own life. Broke our hearts when they fell from enemy fire outside Baghdad. Broke our souls and will to fight when his hells of war trickled into the hells of civilian life and his will to fight was extinguished by his own hand. The fires of war are never quite extinguished in far away lands and in our hometowns.

We stand on the shoulders of giants.

And we fight to become giants ourselves.

Happy Veterans Day to the giants who never raised their hand, to the veterans who ran straight to MEPS on their 18th birthday, to the 9/11 veterans who swarmed the recruiting office, and to all of our giants in between.

3 comments

  1. THANKS TIA IT WAS A PLEASURE SERVING OUR COUNTRY SO WE CAN ALL LIVE IN A GREAT NATION THAT LEADS THE WORLD TO PEACE AND GREATNESS.

    Like

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