Celebrating Veterans Day 2008

Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

A ‘war veteran’ (from Latin vetus, meaning “old”) [1] is a person who has or is working in the armed forces

Our Vets: Heroes……………Defender’s of Freedom………………Warriors……………………Protectors

They are our sons, our daughters, our husbands, our wives, our Mother’s and Father’s. Their your neighbor, your teacher, your police officer, your Doctor, your nurse, your Pastor. They are young and old, tall and short, and from every ethnic background. They live in cities and rural communities, in the North, the South, the East, the West.

Some served one tour and others a lifetime. Some during times of peace yet others in the bloodiest battles of Germany, France, Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan, or other countries of turmoil. Many have sacrificed their limbs, their eyes, their future and many have sacrificed their lives. Yet they all seem to have a common thread of selfless valor that runs through their veins. They are true patriots who because they deeply love their country, their families and their freedoms that they courageously prepare for battle so if they are called to defend this nation that they so love they are ready.

I visited Fort RoseCrans National Cemetery in San Diego yesterday and placed flowers and a flag on my son’s grave. My Mighty Warrior, Marc Alan Lee, the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq 8-2-06. As I drove in the main gate they had 6 extra flags at the base of the huge flag pole. The wind was causing the flags to appear as though they were standing proudly at attention. As I sat on Marc’s grave and processed through the different emotions of pride, of love, of emptiness I glanced up the hill through the rows and rows of marble headstones to the flags that were majestically flapping in the extreme wind. So many have given so much to make sure that those colors still fly boldly representing “One Nation under God,” and the freedoms that we have in America. Freedoms we enjoy because of all of our Vets whether Sailor, Marines, Soldiers or Airmen, our Vets who deeply gave.

I know the price of freedom and I understand the sacrifices that our troops have given. They have done that for me, for you, for this nation. They didn’t do that for rewards or medals or recognition, but today please join me as our nation chooses to remember collectively and thank them and celebrate who they are and what they have selflessly given. I choose to do that every day because they are my HEROES and I am so grateful!

I am **attaching Marc’s last letter home that we have called his “Glory” letter. You will be inspired and moved. He challenges us to do random acts of kindness and I would ask you, in his memory, to honor our Vets today by picking up the check for their meal, coffee, groceries or whatever you can. Be as generous as you can. It’s a small token of our appreciation for all they have sacrificed. These are my heroes and have given so much not expecting anything in return. Attend a parade, thank them, shake their hands, and give them a hug from a grateful nation.

Don’t forget those who are deployed. Send a care package, e-mail a card, and check on their families. Please remember the families of the fallen who gave it all and share your gratitude and love with them.

Thank you to every one of you who has served or who is serving. You are my heroes and today I celebrate you and honor you for all you have sacrificed and given for me and my freedoms.

**Glory is something that some men chase and others find themselves stumbling upon, not expecting it to find them. Either way it is a noble gesture that one finds bestowed upon them. My question is when does glory fade away and become a wrongful crusade, or an unjustified means by which consumes one completely?

I have seen war. I have seen death, the sorrow that encompasses your entire being as a man breathes his last. I can only pray and hope that none of you will ever have to experience some of these things I have seen and felt here.

I have felt fear and have felt adrenaline pump through my veins making me seem invincible. I will be honest and say that some of the things I have seen here are unjustified and uncalled for. However for the most part we are helping this country. It will take more years than most expect, but we will get Iraq to stand on its own feet.

Most of what I have seen here I will never really mention or speak of, only due to the nature of those involved. I have seen a man give his food to a hungry child and family. Today I saw a hospital that most of us would refuse to receive treatment from. The filth and smell would allow most of us to not be able to stand to enter, let alone get medicine from. However you will be relieved to know that coalition forces have started to provide security for and supply medicine and equipment to help aid in the cause.

I have seen amazing things happen here; however I have seen the sad part of war too. I have seen the morals of a man who cares nothing of human life – I have seen hate towards a nation’s people who has never committed a wrong, except being born of a third world, ill educated and ignorant to western civilization. It is not everybody who feels this way only a select few but it brings questions to mind. Is it ok for one to consider themselves superior to another race?

Surprising we are not a stranger to this sort of attitude. Meaning that in our own country we discriminate against someone for what nationality they are, their education level, their social status. We distinguish our role models as multi-million dollar sports heroes or talented actors and actress who complain about not getting millions of dollars more then they are currently getting paid.

Our country is a great country, don’t get me wrong on this, otherwise none of us would be living there. My point of this is how can we come over here and help a less than fortunate country without holding contempt or hate towards them if we can’t do it in our country. I try to do my part over here, but the truth is over there, United States, I do nothing but take.

Ask yourself when was the last time you donated clothes that you hadn’t worn out. When was the last time you paid for a random stranger’s cup of coffee, meal or maybe even a tank of gas? When was the last time you helped a person with the groceries into or out of their car?

Think to yourself and wonder what it would feel like if when the bill for the meal came and you were told it was already paid for.

More random acts of kindness like this would change our country and our reputation as a country.

It is not unknown to most of us that the rest of the world looks at us with doubt towards our humanity and morals.

I am not here to preach or to say look at me, because I am just as at fault as the next person. I find that being here makes me realize the great country we have and the obligation we have to keep it that way.

The 4th has just come and gone and I received many emails thanking me for helping keep America great and free. I take no credit for the career path I have chosen; I can only give it to those of you who are reading this, because each one of you has contributed to me and who I am.

However what I do over here is only a small percent of what keeps our country great. I think the truth to our greatness is each other. Purity, morals and kindness, passed down to each generation through example. So to all my family and friends, do me a favor and pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life to each other so that when your children come into contact with a great conflict that we are now faced with here in Iraq, that they are people of humanity, of pure motives, of compassion.

This is our real part to keep America free! HAPPY 4th Love Ya

P.S. Half way through the deployment can’t wait to see all of your faces

Marc Lee