It' s our duty to cherish and protect, to stand with pride at the sight of the
Flag of the United States of America.
The symbol of the great nation that our military men and women have vowed  to protect.
We must not, we will not let their service and sacrifices be in vain.
We dedicat the following pages to these men and women, their families and loved ones.
In the pages that follow, we would like to recognize our friends and family that are serving their country in the Military
Service of their Nation.  At the same time we need to remember and recognize those who have completed their service to
our country, many of whom gave the ultimate sacrifice .  

There are many ways to describe the people who serve their country, but I recently received an email from a friend that
does this very well.  While this was written as a description of a young man, the "Kid Next Door," as you will see, it
recognizes the brave women that serve our country also.  

"The Kid Next Door"   

The average age of the military man is about 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,  hip-hop,  rap,  jazz or country swing and a 155mm Howitzer.  

He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now that 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 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 are thirsty he will share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food.

He will 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 hands.

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 lifetime.

He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies, and helped to create them.  

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

Just as his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom.  Beardless or not, he is not a

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 and admiration with his blood.

And now we also 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 your comfortable bed tonight, remember this picture...  A short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in
their helmets.  

How do we repay these wonderful people who are willing to give everything for our freedom?  Of all the gifts you could give
a U.S. Soldier, Sailor, Coastguardsman, Marine or Airman, prayer is the very best one.  
We would like to recognize everyone of our friends and family in the Military.  If you have a friend, family member or loved one who
has served or is serving our country, please share with us.  Email us pictures, resumes or stories and we will post them in our
Military Journal.   If email is not practical, drop us a note and we will make other arrangements to get your material.
We Salute Our Military Family!
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