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I Watched As He Walked By

I Watched As He Walked By

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Poem Written By PoliceLink Member Retleo

May 31, 2010

I watched as he walked by. He was old and bent, leather skinned and grizzled yet, somehow, an inner pride shone through. His eyes were tear-filled, his face the color of ash. His cap, covered in small badges and patches, sat at a jaunty angle, reminiscent of an earlier time in his life. His gnarled right hand held high against his forehead, fingers together, thumb tucked neatly beneath, a salute.

I had watched him pass by many times before, on the same day every year. Each time he passed my respect for this tired old Warrior increased in leaps and bounds. He was one among many who passed by, their ranks filled with others of similar age and demeanor but, for me, he was different. I had known him since I was a child. He had always seemed old to me, a man of limited energy and a weakness for unfiltered cigarettes but, as he walked by, he appeared to have gained some devine strength, some renewed sense of purpose.

As I grew older myself I would listen to him talking about the “Good Old Days” and would sit in awe of his tales of days gone by. He was a youngster back then, in the fields of France and the villages of Germany, yet he was a man at the age of 19. Far away from his home, his family, the country that he loved the best, yet he had left all that was a comfort to him to fight for what he thought was right, and he had volunteered to do so.

His stories would paint a picture of him that was foreign to me. That of as tough and seasoned young soldier, proud, tough, wearing three stripes on his sleeve and the wings of an Airborne Paratrooper. He had been to Hell and come back. He had seen and done things that no 19 year old should ever be subjected to. He is a Veteran, he is my father!

And now, as i sit and watch him walk by once again, I find myself returning his sallute, my own eyes filling with tears. How can i ever thank him enough for what he, and his fellow soldiers, have given me and my family? How do you express such feelings and emotions? How do you thank them for fighting in far off lands to preserve the rights and freedoms that we, as Ammericans, enjoy each and every day?

I watched as he walked by and it came to me, you simply tell him “Thank You”, not just on this day, but every day. You tell him, and the millions like him, “Thank You”! They will understand, and they will appreciate the gesture!

Happy Memorial Day from PoliceLink to you and yours. Please take a moment today to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice trying to make a difference in this wonderful country of ours.


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    Irishcop1961

    about 3 years ago

    50392 Comments

    Great story.

  • Car6_max50

    Ahi

    about 4 years ago

    1990 Comments

    good story.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    rsironron

    about 4 years ago

    5220 Comments

    This was a great story, I'm a vet, served in Nam and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about our troops who are serving and the ones that have served.

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    Sheriff_1

    about 4 years ago

    8024 Comments

    God bless and protect.

  • 19227-clipart-illustration-of-a-black-and-white-coloring-page-of-a-magical-flying-phoenix-bird_max50

    caleigh1989

    about 4 years ago

    184 Comments

    Thank you so much! There is not a day that goes by that I dont think about our troops, and service people. You all risk your lives everytime you put on that uniform. Thanks for your dedication to making our home a better and much safer place one person at a time.

    As a criminal justice major, I know the risks that I will have to face once I get my badge, I've thought of all the worst possible scenarios and seen the news everytime a police officer had been shot by some idiot that didn't want a speeding ticket, yet I still want to be a Police Officer. It's my passion and I cant see myself doing anything else. Now I know why you ALL do what you do. It's not for the glory, the money, it's because you want to help people and make a difference in this world, and that's all it is...its your job...

    I don't know if this makes sense to you or not, but I know what I am trying to say.

    Thank You ALL for "just doing your job" you are all in my prayers. Be safe and God bless!

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    LSP0095

    about 4 years ago

    6 Comments

    I'm a veteran. Nine years in the Marine Corps, with one year in Viet Nam. Almost had another tour there, as I was in Okinawa in '75 and, had President Ford decided to go back in when the North started over running the South, I would have gone back in.

    I'm also a retired State Trooper. As well as having a short stint with a small town city police agency.

    Having said all that, ALL who work in Public Safety do just as much to preserve our freedoms. And not just the cops, but firefighters, EMS, etc. True, Memorial Day is a salute to to Veterans, but it's meant for those who have given the ultimate. Over 400,000 of our men and women did not come home from World War II. Over 58,000 of our men and women died in Viet Nam. Over 4,000 so far in Iraq. Over 1,000 so far in Afganistan. Sorry I don't have the figures for Korea, or for the rest of the "Police Actions", but suffice to say that it's too many.

    But, that's the price of freedom. And we lose too many here at home (police officers, firefighters, etc.)

    Being retired, I can look back and say that, compared to what the young officers face on the street today, I had it easy.

    I thank all of you who are still working. You deserve my salute.

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    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    This story I already wrote about.It stays on my mind a lot.Now as I look back I really never knew what it meant for this day.I always felt something when I was younger.As I got older I realized just what Memorial Day really means.Story's like this have a big impact on me.Thanks for the beautiful story.Now this day is one of the most important days to me.
    Thank-You to all who are still here with us, and Thank-You to those who have left us.May God Bless All Of You.

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    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    How can you not give this story a Thumbs UP?

    Nice, very nice....thanks

  • Me_max50

    stevemaynard

    about 4 years ago

    164 Comments

    Well said!

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    granny1

    about 4 years ago

    1448 Comments

    beautifully put.

  • John_groh_max50

    wiseass0282

    about 4 years ago

    10984 Comments

    Great artical, God Bless the American Veteran

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    fnmurphy

    about 4 years ago

    234 Comments

    Hell Yeah!

  • Policelinkbadge_max160_max50_max50

    Gombino

    about 4 years ago

    2658 Comments

    Well said. America is stil here because of our veterans, and our Service people.

  • 21r13_max50

    21R13

    about 4 years ago

    70 Comments

    Could'nt have said it better. "Thanks" to all of our veterans, from all generations, wars, conflicts and police actions. And for those fallen heroes, the biggest debt of gratitude.

  • Gas_mask_1_max50

    creekcop

    about 4 years ago

    1056 Comments

    Beautiful!

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