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Veterans of Christmas Past

| December 14, 2015

This is the story of a Veteran of Christmas’ past. Not any Veteran, but an American Veteran. Red, white, and blue, clear through.

This Veteran started out like all of us. He was brought into this world by loving parents

He walked the streets of his hometown, proud to be from his city and state. As he grew up he loved learning, especially math and history.

A place called Vietnam had escalated. He felt obligated to do his part. So, he joined the service, the service of his country, he joined the fight for freedom, against communism.

He saw and did many things during his tour of NAM!

He saw the worst of man and he best.

He was on patrol one day, only had 25 days to go on over a (1) year tour. All hell broke loose as the bullets from the ambush ripped through, several men were killed outright, many were wounded as they took cover.

Our Veteran, a rookie no more, was hit, but not seriously. But his best friend was seriously wounded that day. They got to say a few words as he tried desperately to save his life, but couldn’t. He recovered from his physical wounds. But he had a hard time with the emotional part of his war.

He went on to marry, more than once. An unfortunate, sad, but true fact for many vets.

He and his wife had (3) beautiful children. He was there to watch the wonder of their births before his eyes.

He was successful in every venture that he tried. They weren’t rich, but they were happy.

Their kids did well in school. All (3) excelled in the classroom and athletics. With guidance, love and being there for them. Their priorities were kept straight.

But all through the years the vet was haunted by a question all Veterans that live through war ask themselves: “Why did I live?”, “And my best friend die!”

My answer is this. I believe there is a plan or a blueprint for our lives when we’re born. Some call it destiny.

Now is probably the time to let those who are reading this know who I am.

You see I know this Veteran so well, because I am the best friend he tried to save. I never had a brother, he was mine.

But I’m not really the ghost of Christmas past, but I prefer the “Spirit of America”, you see I’ve been his “Guardian Angel” all these years.

I didn’t get to live my life like my best friend, I was only 18 when I left this earth, my buddy was 20.

But remember this, I could’ve been a Revoluntionary War Vet at Valley Forge, or (2) brothers at odds at Gettysburg or Belleau Woods, Iwo Jima, or Normandy, the Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sanh, or the Ashua Valley, Afghanistan, or Iraq, anywhere in the world that America has fought for freedom.

My buddy has always honored me flying the stars and stripes, marching in parades, teaching respect and honor to his children.

In many ways I am still alive. The Veterans honor me, so I did not die in vain.

America must never forget the ones that didn’t come home.

I said earlier that I was a guardian angel.

And the great thing is: This is America: You can choose to believe or not believe. You have: “Freedom of choice!”

This story is not about scrooge and the Christmas ghosts. This is the story of the United States of America and the sacrifices that have been made.

The “Spirits” of America, all 239 years of it.

And for you, Veterans of all branches of the service, from all wars who still feel guilt.

Don’t——honor me on Memorial Day and Veterans Day and all through the years by not forgetting our sacrifices: “Some gave all and all gave some!”

My Christmas wish to America:

To live each day to the best of your abilities. Everyone is born with a gift. Use that gift to better America. Always remember, freedom isn’t free!

Some day you’ll have the answers to life’s toughest questions!

“God Bless America”

Signed: The Veterans of Christmas Past!

“The Spirit of America”

Written by: Jerry Haywood

Former USMC Sgt. and proud Vietnam Veteran


Originally written: 12/13/05

Category: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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Article contributed to The Beacon.

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