We are fortunate to have been allowed to serve our country and lucky to have survived. We know the feeling that comes with having put our lives on the line between the forces of Evil and our God, Honor and Country in a way those who only read about it will never know or perhaps even care about. We realize the debt we owe to those who now defend us, as we once defended them. We feel the debt and know we can never pay it back. But as a great American once said, "Better to die owing, that beat you out of it." The debt even we (or perhaps we in particular) owe those who now take up the sword in our places can never be paid back, but it must be recognized.
Our service forms a unique bond between services and generations. As age creeps up on the lucky, we hobble and wheeze, but never ever give up our honor. The honor of those who go forth to do battle for our homeland. From the French and Indian Wars through Desert Two and beyond. We are one. The American Warrior. No point in telling those who are not, they will never understand, it cannot be explained, now or ever.
We recognize each other with a word here or there; Valley Forge, Veracruz, Gettysburg, San Juan Hill, Verdun, Guadacanal, Saipan, Omaha, Torch, K16, Cuba, Barrel Roll, the Red, DaNang, Fulda Gap, Kuwait, Bagdad and a hundred thousand other places we have sweated, frozen or died.
We honor the bond in our salute. A salute those who only act the part can never duplicate.
God Bless you all.