Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Boats of wood and balls of iron

As one of the planet's worst bagpipers I often receive requests to play at local events. Sadly due to a busy schedule I have to say no more often than I like. But as a matter of routine I will juggle my schedule dramatically to honor a request to play for a veterans group. Today was such an occasion when a multitude of Veterans organizations gathered in town to bring home three of their number.

As several hundred people watched our local Vets gave a fitting farewell to three comrades whose cremated remains had been stored unclaimed in a local funeral home. For whatever reason there were no remaining relatives to make final arrangements for these men. To the credit of the Vets they made arrangements for a splendid ceremony prior to the internment of the remains in the State Veteran's Cemetery.

While standing in formation next to the bugler I noticed that he wore a patch indicating his status as a PT Boat crewman on his jacket. As is my practice I thanked him for his bravery and service to our country. In true form he told me it was no big deal. But I persisted. Service to your country is the highest form of patriotism. Combat veterans are truly a breed set apart. And to serve your country in battle at sea on a plywood boat armed with torpedoes....well, that is just something I cannot even imagine. I think I may have embarrassed the old guy a bit with my description of his service. But his deeds validate the accuracy of the title of this post.

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