Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Things to Think About

Some items to consider two days before Christmas:

First, it's about freaking time the Army did this.....

Second, a couple of photos to think about, courtesy of Todd Heisler of the Rocky Mountain News....



When 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body arrived at the Reno Airport, Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac. During the arrival of another Marine's casket last year at Denver International Airport, Major Steve Beck described the scene as one of the most powerful in the process: "See the people in the windows? They'll sit right there in the plane, watching those Marines. You gotta wonder what's going through their minds, knowing that they're on the plane that brought him home," he said. "They're going to remember being on that plane for the rest of their lives. They're going to remember bringing that Marine home. And they should."


and:



The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of 'Cat,' and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. "I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it," she said. "I think that's what he would have wanted."

Third, the following poem. Forwarded to me by one of my friends. Written by a U.S. Marine, identity unknown:

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, 
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF
PLASTER AND STONE.
    
I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE, 
AND TO SEE JUST WHO
IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.
    
I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS, 
NOT EVEN A TREE.
    
NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS. 
    
WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.
    
FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.
    
THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING, 
SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.
    
THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER, 
NOT HOW I PICTURED
A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.
    
WAS THIS THE HERO
OF WHOM I'D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO, 
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?
 
I REALIZED THE FAMILIES
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT. 
    
SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.
    
THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.
    
I COULDN'T HELP WONDER 
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.
    
THE VERY THOUGHT
BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE, 
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES
AND STARTED TO CRY.
    
THE SOLDIER AWAKENED
AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
'SANTA DON'T CRY,
THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;
    
I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
I DON'T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD,
MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS.'

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER
AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN'T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.
    
I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS, 
SO SILENT AND STILL
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED
FROM THE COLD NIGHT'S CHILL.
    
I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT, 
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR 
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.
    
THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, 'CARRY ON SANTA, 
IT'S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.'
    
ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
'MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,!
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.' 


Third: the reason why Christmas happens in the first place....




As we get closer to Christmas, please keep the reason why we celebrate this holiday in mind and in heart. And this year - especially this year - it is important.

Also keep the men and women who serve our country, including those who've sacrificed their lives, in your thoughts and prayers. Remember the men who are profiled in the CNN story I provided the link to at the beginning of the post; their ordeal is over. And keep the family of James Cathey in mind; I know that he is indeed one of many, but his and his family's story is representative of those who give everything they have for the rest of us.

If I don't have another opportunity to post between now and Christmas Day, I would wish you the very best, now and always.

3 comments:

Laura said...

God bless us everyone, and a Very Mery Christmas Walt to you and your family.

Elizabeth said...

May Lt Cathey rest in peace and may his Memory be Eternal.
My thoughts are with his wife....

A Joyous Christmas to you, Walt !

Evil Transport Lady said...

I hope your message gets out there, my hubby and I are both in a bad way, he with a back injury and I survived a MVA while on duty, BUT we are both grateful to be here, with our families, safe and somewhat sound:)

Merry Christmas to you and yours!