Last Saturday, an old friend invited me to attend the 5th Annual Fishing with the Vets outing, organized and run by the “Friends of Veterans” in Wind Lake. The event has become a yearly tradition that brings together veterans, living at the Union Grove Veterans Home, with volunteers who provide our vets with some well-deserved R&R. The event is based at the Wind Lake public boat launch, where canopies and tables are pitched so the vets can enjoy a wonderful spread of home cooked food, take turns fishing on pontoon boats, or simply enjoy the ride.
It was an honor to be invited, but the real privilege was being able to stand amidst the remnants of the American hero, described by Tom Brokaw as “The Greatest Generation.” Long after the din of the battle has faded, they course through the twilight of their lives; quiet sentinels of a hard earned freedom that should never be taken for granted.
Today, our veterans continue to pay the toll required of us so we may enjoy the privilege of being called Americans. The legacy of the American serviceman lives on, epitomized by the men and women who serve in the armed forces of the United States, at home and oversees. It is a fundamental bond that spans generations and unites us in the common cause of the American dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As I watched these grizzled warriors quietly move out, my mind wandered back to General Douglas McArthur’s farewell speech at West Point. It remains one of the most stirring tributes to the American Serviceman that I’ve ever read, evoking an emotional response that rises from deep within and gets lodged in my throat. General McArthur distilled that credo, that bond, into three simple words that remain just as real today as they were back then, “Duty, Honor, Country…”
I leave you with a quote from the General’s parting words and urge you to remember that freedom isn’t free. It has been bought with the sacrifice of countless men and women who believed in this good and noble cause—a rich and wondrous melting pot called America.
“The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished - tone and tints. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen then, but with thirsty ear, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country.”
General Douglas McArthur
May 12, 1962
To the veterans who have come before us, are here today, and are yet to come—thank you for your service.
Get more Post! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Want to advertise? Learn how!