2017-11-15 / Front Page

Always say thank you

I was the guest speaker at Veterans Hospital for the Marine Corps Birthday Celebration. I began with a quote taken from George Washington while he was at Valley Forge.

“To see men without clothes to cover their nakedness, without blankets to lay on, without shoes, by which their marches might be traced by the blood from their feet, and almost as often without provisions as with; marching through frost and snow and at Christmas taking up their winter quarters within a days march of the enemy, without a house or hutt to cover them til they could be built and submitting to it without a murmur, is a mark of patience and obedience which in my opinion can scarce be paralleled.”

This was our Nations founding, going on to WWI and our soldiers in the trenches, awaiting the order to charge across no-man’s land covered by German machine guns, and barbed wire, knowing many of their fellows would never make it.

How did it feel to the Marines going toward the beach at Iwo Jima with machine gun bullets hitting the front of their craft, and when they hit shore, seeing the range stakes in the volcanic sand marking the kill zones of the Japanese.

In Korea, Captain Barber took Fox Company’s 256 Marines to cover the main supply route and keep it open during the Chosin Reservoir campaign at temperatures of 35 degrees below zero. The Chinese Communist forces put two regiments against them to destroy all of them, and several times the Marines had to go out and take weapons and ammunition off the dead in order to continue the fight, and after the four day and night fight, Fox Company could only muster 40 walking men to walk out of the trap.

In Vietnam, our brave men were sent into the jungles, against snakes, leeches, an elusive enemy that rarely faces them, and the heat and constant rains melted the flesh off their bodies, many lost 40 pounds and clothing torn to shreds, living like animals in the jungle. It is not as easy to kill as the movies show. When these brave men returned, they were spit upon by liberal college pukes too afraid to serve .

They won the war but victory was stolen from them by the media who turned our nation against them.

My son served in Iraq, there temperatures were as high as 120 degrees, sucking the life from them, and they couldn’t get enough to drink, had to do dynamic entries into buildings where the Iraqis had ambushes, and explosives planted in dead animals along the streets, or road mines that blew up the military vehicles. And again facing an enemy to coward to meet them on the field of battle, but set mines, traps or ambushes to kill our men. And Afghanistan is the same, a no-mans land unfit for living and growing crops, only good for scorpions, poison snakes and the fanatical Muslim fighters.

These are the servicemen and women, volunteers, who set aside many years of their lives to protect a nation.

When you see one of our Marines, soldiers, sailors or airmen, tell him or her, “thank you for defending our nation,” and also hug them and say, “welcome home.”

Jim Wade
Past Department of Indiana Commandant

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