Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Old Man and a Little Girl

My Daughter and I went to the grocery store a few days ago. Just inside the entrance was a large man behind at a small card table, dresses in VFW uniform with a handful of poppies.

That's where Charlotte and I met Harry Serulneck, the quartermaster for the Framingham Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 929.

I couldn't help but think of my dad who would have been about the same age, though Harry was 8 years older. I just keep looking at him, thinking of my dad; thinking of the last salute he received from the Sergeant. "We salute Sergeant Johndrow, she said." And the closed his casket forever. I thought about the last time I saw his face.

Harry is out there supporting a brother in arms - a blind one. His post is taking up a collection to provide a hand held reader for another soldier who served our country.

I read a couple of online articles about Harry, and two things struck me. One, most of the posts don't have any comments, but this one particular POST has comments that frost my freezer bulb.

It is bad enough that we can't spend 3 minutes to thank a vet for the freedom we have, but some jerk jumps right in with a bunch of propaganda that has nothing to do with those that have fought a battle in a foreign land.

Veterans day is about people, about people that took and oath to protect your freedom. Personally when I sit down and ask, WWJD? I think he would throw some love on our vets. He'd sit and listen to a war story or two, he'd pray for them.

I enjoyed Harry - we had a tearful chat about the way things are, and what he fought for. At 92 there are only few WW II vets left. I thin I am going call him for another chat.

How about you, did you thank a vet today?

And happy 7th Birthday Charlotte!


Anonymous said...

That article is like two years old. Here's a nicer email that I got today from the First Lady, with a link to for more on Veterans.

"Veterans Day provides us with the chance to mark the debt of honor we owe to all those who have worn the uniform of the United States. We remember those who gave their lives beneath our flag, in service of our freedom.

And with so many still fighting, we owe special thanks to the courageous families of those who serve.

Because when our servicemen and women deploy overseas, their loved ones are left to undertake heroic battles of their own at home. The unique challenges they face in support of men and women in uniform allow us all to enjoy the freedoms of our democracy.

Every time I have a chance to meet with these families, I'm struck by their strength and their quiet dignity -- they are truly some of the most selfless, courageous people I've met.

And today is also a day to acknowledge the sacrifices these brave men and women make every day, and pray for the safe return of those they love.

I've felt their calling personally, and I want to encourage Americans across the country to step up and do more for our military families. Take the time to stay informed about the concerns and activities of the families of service members in your community. Let them know you recognize their struggles and appreciate all they do.

You can help by finding out the needs of the military families in your community and volunteering, from working with your local school's PTA to hiring a military spouse.

Today and every day, I am moved by the personal sacrifices made by service families. And I'm humbled by the patriotism of those they support -- our soldiers and airmen, our sailors and Marines.

Today, if you can, please take a moment to offer your gratitude for the families of the veterans and active service members that you know. Or go online to to find out how you can serve military families in your area.



David-FireAndGrace said...

@ Michelle - the collection for the blind vet they were doing was just last week. The other article was from a 2 years ago, and I was referring to the comments which were derogatory towards vets.

Anonymous said...

@David - it was confusing to me that you mentioned something contemporary, but had to go back 2 years to find something disagreeable (and I agree, it was disagreeable).

There is another sentiment about Veterans Day which I do think worth discussing. The original day marked the Armistice for the War to End All Wars. After the Korean War, the US changed the event to celebrate the individuals who served (willingly or not, let's not forget Vietnam - or Korea and WWII, all draft wars).

What's the difference? Well, Armistice day remembers that war is terrible, and should only be entered with great reluctance. Veterans day ignores the war and the reasons our vets were Over There in the first place. As a Vet (though not VFW grade - did not fight, just served), I also consider the cause.

Here's a more thorough discussion of that theme. It's from a pro-gun, pro-strong military progressive site:

- A gnawn on moose

David said...

@A gnawn on moose - well, I wanted to know more about the man I met. So I Googled him and read about a half a dozen articles. I was shocked that some jerk would say some of the things that he said.

Veterans Day is a day to support those who serve, it's part of being American. If you have a beef with war policies the place to go is, not defecate on a war hero's service to his country and community.

Do you understand now? It's like the idiots that picket soldiers funerals. Picket the White House, and the Congress, they make decisions.

Charlie's Church of Christ said...

I think you make a great point. Though I feel pretty confident that Jesus was opposed to the violent side of things, that doesn't mean he wouldn't care for vets. He wouldn't exclude them on ethical grounds. His heart belongs to those who hurt, and vets certainly have broken hearts.

Anonymous said...

There's a really terrific movie about Veterans. It's "The Best Days of Our Lives", and it begins with 3 Americans returning from overseas to resume their civilian lives.

The movie is a little long (3 hours!), but trust me - it's totally family friendly, and it tells the story of the returning Vet in a very good way. Won a number of Academy awards.

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