It's holiday time, folks! Time to remember who we owe...
Orale! As I sit here on a Friday morning after Thanksgiving, stretching lazily and listening to some of my favorite music (...so what's new, right?), still burping up turkey, ham, tamales and egg nog, with the usual thoughts & worries that come to a lot of us at this time of year, like what bills won't I pay this month so my kids and grandkids can score at Christmas, I'm hit with an ambivalent feeling of thanks and sadness.
Published on LatinoLA: November 25, 2005
...Hope this piece hits you, like the feeling's hitting me....or you ain't got a heart!
I'm thankful for the time spent time with family and friends, and nobody went hungry.
I'm sad that there are young men & women from my country sitting on the other side of the World, wearing a uniform, in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, Europe and Korea, and wishing they could be in my place, feeling as safe as I do, having eaten as well as I did.
It's because of them, I'm enjoying this freedom. Thanks, guys.
I'm sad because as a Viet Nam Vet, I think about the young men and women who never got the chance to grow up to my age, and enjoy the freedom they gave their lives for that I, along with others of my generation, now enjoy...
...no matter how you may see it, no matter how you call it years after the fact, we owe all of them, and others standing duty at God's gates from all other wars before and after them, a deep debt of gratitude, along with all the Veterans who have served, for the freedom we all enjoy.
Having the freedom to sit down and write this, without worrying about bullets or bombs in my daily life, is all the thanks I need right now.
Thanks, God. I owe you more than one, homie! (Me & God are tight like that, ya sabes?)
Like a lot of people, (...and I know and you know I'm talking A LOT..), I sometimes get a little irritated seeing people from other Countries coming over here, owning donut shops, gas stations, convenience stores, homes, and other businesses, and basically living large in my Country, having escaped danger, poverty, and misery in theirs.
BUT!!...They are living proof of the freedom I've been talking about, provided and protected by our sons & daughters in uniform.
I don't think I could leave my family, my friends, my Country, and the only life I've ever known, and go to another country and enjoy the freedom and liberty I enjoy here...and be happy & safe for the rest of my life.
To them "foreigners", I thank you, for bringing that thought and reality to my mind, while you openly respect the Stars & Stripes for what you now have, and your children can call themselves Americans.
Another thanks to our brave men & women in uniform that provide this freedom.
By now, some of you may be openly cussing our Government, Politicians, public policies, complaining bitterly and loudly about the state of excretement you may feel the Country is in, and talking about how things could & should be better...and think about this: You're also reading this freely in a major publication seen around the World, and you may mention this to a friend, and you can publicly repeat or argue any and all points stated...and I guarantee you...neother you or I will suddenly disappear in the middle of the night, or be found in a non-breathing condition somewhere as a result of this.
Another freedom afforded by our Country's son's and daughters, who put on a uniform, pick up a weapon, and stand between us and harm's way...ever think about freedom in that light?
I was motivated to write this piece this morning after I woke and decided to taste some sunshine. Being in California, I can still walk outside topless at this time of the year, so I did. A young veteran, missing a leg as a result of his combat service in Iraq, was walking by on his crutches enjoying the same sunshine, on his terms. Seeing my military tattoos on my arm (U.S. Marines~U.S. Army), he greeted me good morning, asked if I "Did time in 'Nam". After I said yes, I asked him if he had lost his leg in combat, as he had a "U.S. Army Airborne" tattoo on his arm. He said "Yea...Iraq, last year...but I'm lucky...I made it back home." He smiled and began leaving, when we both looked at each other and told each other "Thanks...and welcome back"...
...it's like that with brother Vets, you know what I mean? No other words were necessary.
You and I may disagree with the politicians and this war (and no war is ever right, let's agree on that!), but at this time, I ask to please not turn on the brave Marine, Soldier, Sailor, or Airman who are out there ensuring all the freedoms I've stated, and others I haven't, at their own free will, and during the most promising period of their lives. (Foolish people did this during Viet Nam, and I still haven't forgiven them!)
They are bravely following orders and doing their duty...for all of us....and if anybody reading this hasn't YET the huevos to say it to them, I will:
THANK YOU ALL, FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, AND MAY GOD WATCH OVER YOU AND ALL THOSE SERVING ALONG SIDE OF YOU, AND THE FAMILIES THAT HURT EVERYDAY THAT YOU ARE GONE!
THIS HOLIDAY, AND ALL THE FREEDOM, JOY, & HAPPINESS THAT COMES WITH IT, IS ON YOU!....
THANKS AGAIN!!!!! WE OWE YOU ONE!!
with the utmost respect,
FRANK ARZAGA aka FRANKIE FIRME
Frankie Firme's website: www.frankiefirme.50megs.com