The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short haired,  tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by  society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old  enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country.

He never  really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than  wash  his father's; but he has never collected unemployment either.   He's a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average  student,  pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy,  and  has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or  swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away.

He  listens  to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and a 155mm  howitzer. He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home  because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk.  

He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he  can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time  in  the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or  grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

He digs  foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. He  can march until he is told to stop or stop until he is told to march.   He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not  without spirit or individual dignity.

He is self-sufficient. He has two sets  of  fatigues: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens  full  and his feet dry. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never  to clean his rifle.

He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and  fix his own hurts. If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you;  if  you are hungry, his food. He'll even split his ammunition with you in  the midst of battle when you run low.   He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they  were  his hands. He can save your life - or take it, because that is his  job. 

He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay and  still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and  death  then he should have in his short lifetime.   He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies, and helped to create them.  He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in  combat and is unashamed.

He feels every note of the National Anthem  vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the  burning desire to 'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered  to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in  and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be  disrespectful.   Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is  paying  the price for our freedom.

Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is  the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200  years.   He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and  understanding.  Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration  with  his blood.

And now we even have women over there in danger, doing  their  part in this tradition of going to War when our nation calls us to do  so. As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot.. A short lull, a  little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets. As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot -- A short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets – and say a prayer for their well-being.Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Sailor, Coastguardsman, Marine or Airman, prayer is the very  best one.  


   Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us.Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen.

For the Army:

    O Lord, God of Hosts, stretch forth, we pray thee, thine almighty arm to strengthen and protect the soldiers of our country. Support them in the day of battle,and in the time of peace keep them safe from all evil; endue them with courage and loyalty; and grant that in all things they may serve without reproach; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For The Navy:

    O Eternal Lord God, who alone spreadest out the heavens and rulest the raging of the sea;Vouchsafe to take into thy almighty and most gracious protection our country’s Navy,and all who serve therein. Preserve them from the dangers of the sea,and from the violence of the enemy; that they may be a safeguard unto the United States of America, and a security for such as pass on the seasupon their lawful occasions; that the inhabitants of our land may in peace and quietness serve thee our God, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Many Thanks to Judy for this e-mail -- jwc

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