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Page 40

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Old Soldiers

By James Hellvig

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As a vet, I often reflect on my time served and on the generation that now serves this country. We, as a nation have been at war for over a decade now... and yet most of us are unaffected in our daily lives.

In each generation those who have gone before - "The Old Breed" - reflect on their experiences and compare them to "the modern model." I'm not different in that regard. I think that this generation of warriors is both better trained and better equipped than my compatriots of long ago. Technology and physiology has come a long way in the past thirty years, but some things cannot change no matter the history... young people from all walks of life still volunteer to put themselves in harms way for a variety of reasons. They join and serve with courage and honor... and sacrifice greatly and sometimes ultimately for what they all believe in - country and each other.

They learn and pass on the lessons of those that have bled before them. No one prays for peace more than a soldier... their job is to train and prepare for war. Some folks don't understand this... if you haven't been there it's nearly impossible to do so. On this long weekend that most will enjoy with their family and friends, I ask you to remember that in a far away lands all over the globe, are sons and daughters, not asking for understanding or even recognition. Separated from loved ones this brotherhood stands proud and continues the traditions that keep us free. The routine won't change... the mission doesn't make exceptions for holidays...and you're not done until you're retired or a civilian again.

Remember... that for every old soldier, there stands a young one... back straight and unflinching in the face of adversity.

I salute you young people... and I remember my own fallen but never forgotten comrades. Be safe and come home to pass the torch... we'll be waiting.

James Hellvig is a former US Army soldier. He wrote this in remembrance last year and thought it might interest our readership.

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