Tuesday, August 05, 2008

1/2 Man - 1/2 Boy -- The American Soldier

Another great email from Michael Genung....
1/2 Man - 1/2 Boy

The average age of the military man is 19 years.  He is a short haired,
tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half
man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but
old enough to die for his country.  He never really cared much for work and he
would rather wax his own car than wash his father's, but he has never
collected unemployment either.

He's a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student,
pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a
steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be
waiting when he returns from half a world away  He listens to rock and roll or
hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and a 155mm howitzer.

He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is
working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk.  He has trouble spelling,
thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30
seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark.  He can recite to you the
nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one
effectively if he must.

He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional.

He can march until he is told to stop, or stop until he is told to march.

He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without
spirit or individual dignity.  He is self-sufficient.

He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his
canteens full and his feet dry.

He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can
cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts.

If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his
food. He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you
run low.

He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his

He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job.

He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still
find ironic humor in it all.

He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short

He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat
and is unashamed.

He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at
rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to 'square-away ' those
around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop

In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to
be disrespectful.

Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great- grandfather, he is paying the
price for our freedom.  Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the American
Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.

He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding.
Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect a nd admiration with his

And now we even have women over there in danger, doing their part in this
tradition of going to War when our nation calls us to do so.

As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot. . .

A short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets.

Prayer wheel for our military...

'Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands.
Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families for the selfless acts
they perform for us in our time of need.  Amen.'

When you [read] this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our ground troops in Afghanistan, sailors on ships, and
airmen in the air, and for those in Iraq ....

Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Sailor, Coastguardsman,
Marine, or Airman, prayer is the very best one.

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