"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vet to Vet

My brother-in-law, Denny Kempf, sent me this in an email. It's wonderful and I thought I would pass it along. Please enjoy ...

Veteran to Veteran:

You really do have to be a veteran to know where this comes from. I'll never forget, and I don't know that I want to ever forget my time in the Navy, even though some times were a little on the rough side when I got hurt.

When I stop and think back, it's almost like it was last month when I was on a little island, walking on the beach, picking up sea shells, out on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean called Diego Garcia, then the Phillipines and Hawaii, then Long Beach Naval Hospital. Ahhhh, the good old days.

Thanks to all of you who are vets! And to those of you who are NOT, ya sure don't know what the hell you missed!

Gary Grubbe
Navy SEABEE 80-83

When a Veteran leaves the 'job' and retires to a better life, many are jealous, some are pleased, and others, who may have already retired, wonder if he knows what he is leaving behind, because we already know.

1. We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those past times.

2. We know in the Military Life, there is a fellowship which lasts long after the uniforms are hung up in the back of the closet.

3. We know even if he throws them away, they will be on him with every step and breath that remains in his life. We also know how the very bearing of the man speaks of what he was and, in his heart, he still is.

These are the burdens of the job. You will still look at people suspiciously, still see what others do not see or choose to ignore and always will look at the rest of the Military World with a respect for what they do; only grown in a lifetime of knowing.

Never think for one moment you are escaping from that life. You are only escaping the 'job' and merely being allowed to leave 'active' duty.

So what I wish for you is that whenever you ease into retirement, in your heart you never forget for one moment that you are still a member of the greatest fraternity the world has ever known.

Civilian Friends vs. Veteran Friends: Comparisons

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Get upset if you're too busy to talk to them for a week.

VETERAN FRIENDS: Are glad to see you after years, and will happily carry on the same conversation you were having the last time you met.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry.

VETERAN FRIENDS: Have cried along with you.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Keep your stuff so long they forget it's yours

VETERAN FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then respectfully give it back.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.

VETERAN FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing.

VETERAN FRIENDS: Will kick the crowd's ass that left you behind.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Are for a while.

VETERAN FRIENDS: Are for life.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have shared a few experiences.

VETERAN FRIENDS: Have shared a lifetime of experiences no citizen could ever dream of.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will take your drink away when they think you've had enough.

VETERAN FRIENDS: Will see you stumbling all over the place and say, "You better drink the rest of that before you spill it!" Then carry you home safely and put you to bed.

From one Veteran to another, it's an honor to be in your company.

Thank you.

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

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  1. From my Facebook Page in the Comment Section:

    David Westfall
    Yep, that pretty much sums it up. A friend of ours has a 24 year old son who did 2 tours with the Marines in Iraq. When he came back he was as mentally messed up as I was. I saw it in an instant.

    When he first got back we didn't get along very well. Two angry men in the same room is like oil and water. Over the past year he made tremendous strides in his mental health. I made him go for a drive with me one day and we had a talk. It appears I am the only one that understands him. All of his service buddies are far away, so what he has is me, a combat vet 20 years his senior. It doesn't matter that I was Navy Aircrew and he was a Marine ground pounder. What matters is that I understand him. I can finish his sentences. I know what he is feeling without him having to say it.

    This young man, only out of the Marines for a little over a year, signed back up a few months ago. I sent him a message when I found out. I will put it under this one in the next comment. He said I nailed it.

    David Westfall
    I understand why you went back in. When you got out, initially you felt relief, like the weight of the world was lifted from your shoulders. Then, over time, you started to miss things. The structure, the respect, the excitement. You missed knowing that your buddies have your back no matter what. You started to question whether you left things unfinished over there, and you decided that you did. You want to go back and try to finish it. To try to protect the babies that are currently over there fighting. It is hard to believe we were the same age as them when we were doing what they are. Why is it they are babies when we were men at the same age? You think that you can save them, and that if you can save just one, even if you lose your life in the process, it will have been worth it. I know, because I feel like that every day. If I was able, I would be back there tomorrow, defending America and trying to protect her young men and women.

    Let me know if you need anything. You make me proud to call you my friend.
    Stay Safe,

  2. David,
    This is the David Westfall that I know. Genuine, caring, helpful, true to yourself, your friends and this country. Knowing you, I would have expected no less -- what you wrote makes me proud, David.

  3. From Facebook Comments:

    I have a grandson in Afghanistan now. His brother just got back after a tour in Iraq and a tour in Afghanistan. He will be coming home for Christmas and bringing his new wife. These are good boys who have grown up in the Marines. Please keep them in your prayers.
    Jerry Hopper

    CJ Heck
    I will, of course, Jerry. Thank you for bringing him to my attention. I wish you a wonderful and safe Christmas with your family.

  4. From Facebook Comments:

    Jerry Hopper
    Same to you cj. I have followed you for almost a year. You are some kinda lady
    Hugs to you.

    CJ Heck
    Hugs right back at you, Jerry. You're a good friend.


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