Sunday, May 28, 2017

Earn This

Image is from a WWI Canadian propaganda poster by Frank Nicolet Lucien.
I owe a debt to those who went before me. To those who have given their lives so that we might live in freedom. It's not a debt I can ever really repay, how do you repay someone for dying so that others might live?

While the debt can't be paid in full, it can be paid in part.


Live a good life. Never take your freedoms for granted, remember those who paid the last full measure.

I hear their voices every day, echoing down through the years, from Bunker Hill to Fallujah...

There are names I say every Memorial Day, I remember them and will until the day I die...

Captain Carroll F. LeFon, Jr.
United States Navy
Lance Corporal Kurt E. Dechen
United States Marine Corps
Major Taj Sareen
United States Marine Corps
Lieutenant Nathan T. Poloski
United States Navy
Private Robert Bain
Royal Scots Fusiliers

(No photo available)
They were friends, they were relatives, they were friends of friends, but I knew them all. All of them died in service to their country. I miss them...

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal 
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres, 
There is music in the midst of desolation 
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young, 
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. 
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted; 
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; 
They sit no more at familiar tables of home; 
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time; 
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound, 
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight, 
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known 
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust, 
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain; 
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, 
To the end, to the end, they remain.

For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon

Really. Earn this...


  1. Great Post Sarge.

    Hard to earn, harder to keep. It gets easier with practice though.

    1. It is a skill which one needs to work at.

  2. Well done, Sarge. On Monday, out will come my bayonet, my Garand, and my steel pot. They will be planted in our lawn near the flag. Earn this. Remember those who fell, make sure they have no reason to doubt their sacrifice, and remember that their are those among us for whom every day is Memorial Day.

    The things they Carried....

    They carried P-38 can openers and heat tabs, watches and dog tags, insect repellent, gum, cigarettes, Zippo lighters, salt tablets, compress bandages, ponchos, Kool-Aid, two or three canteens of water, iodine tablets, sterno, LRRP- rations, and C-rations stuffed in socks. They carried standard fatigues, jungle boots, bush hats, flak jackets and steel pots. They carried the M-16 assault rifle. They carried trip flares and Claymore mines, M-60 machine guns, the M-70 grenade launcher, M-14's, CAR-15's, Stoners, Swedish K's, 66mm Laws, shotguns, .45 caliber pistols, silencers, the sound of bullets, rockets, and choppers, and sometimes the sound of silence. They carried C-4 plastic explosives, an assortment of hand grenades, PRC-25 radios, knives and machetes. Some carried napalm, CBU's and large bombs; some risked their lives to rescue others. Some escaped the fear, but dealt with the death and damage. Some made very hard decisions, and some just tried to survive. They carried malaria, dysentery, ringworm, jungle rot and leaches. They carried the land itself as it hardened on their boots.

    They carried stationery, pencils, and pictures of their loved ones - real and imagined. They carried love for people in the real world and love for one another. And sometimes they disguised that love: "Don't mean nothin'! "They carried memories. For the most part, they carried themselves with poise and a kind of dignity. Now and then, there were times when panic set in, and people squealed or wanted to, but couldn't; when they twitched and made moaning sounds and covered their heads and said "Dear God" and hugged the earth and fired their weapons blindly and cringed and begged for the noise to stop and went wild and made stupid promises to themselves and God and their parents, hoping not to die.They carried the traditions of the United States Military, and memories and images of those who served before them. They carried grief, terror, longing and their reputations. They carried the soldier's greatest fear: the embarrassment of dishonor. They crawled into tunnels, walked point, and advanced under fire, so as not to die of embarrassment. They were afraid of dying, but too afraid to show it.They carried the emotional baggage of men and women who might die at any moment. They carried the weight of the world.


    1. Beautiful, a fitting tribute.

      It got awfully dusty when I read this...

  3. "While the debt can't be paid in full, it can be paid in part.


    Live a good life. Never take your freedoms for granted, remember those who paid the last full measure."

    I really like what you said. I've always tried to do this in honor of three good friends whose names are etched on that black granite wall. One of them was my best friend that I grew up with. My Dad called me while I was in trainig at Lowry to tell me that Randy had been KIA in the Quang Nam province on May 5th 1970.

    1. I cannot see that Wall, nor think of it without feeling two things:

      - Immense sorrow for the loss of all those fine people

      - Immense gratitude...

  4. All this, never remembered too much, never spoken of too softly. Youngsters don't know.

  5. Concur with the others Sarge, well said. I think that the Private Ryan movie was one of the best in conveying the emotion of "earn this"- a thought that I should have on my mind more than I do during they year. In memory of those that have sacrificed so much for us....

    1. Hollywood got that one right.

    2. I agree with OAFS that Hollywood got it right on this film. I'm glad I watched it once, but will never watch it again. I am not strong enough to do so.


  6. Thank you for the post OAFS and thank you for your comments, commenters. I shall never forget.

    Paul L. Quandt

  7. Thanks, OAFS, for reminding your large readership. Some who might not know but now have a better understanding. I mean no disrespect towards those readers. respectfully, Alemaster

    1. Damn! Just read that a young Ranger made the ultimate sacrifice today. It was a vehicle accident during deployment. Finest light infantry in the world, "Rangers lead the way." respectfully, Alemaster

  8. My Dad's cousin Francis:


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)