The Average Infantryman The average age of the Infantryman 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 155mm Howitzers. 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-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 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. GOD BLESS AMERICA! A Tribute To Military Spouses" Over the years I have talked a lot about military spouses, how special they are and the price they pay for freedom too. The funny thing about it, is most military spouses don't consider themselves different from other spouses. They do what they have to do, bound together not by blood or merely friendship, but with a shared spirit whose origin is in the very essence of what love truly is. Is there truly a difference? You have to decide for yourself. Other spouses get married and look forward to building equity in a home and putting down family roots. Military spouses get married and know they'll live in base housing or rent, and their roots must be short so they can be transplanted frequently.Other spouses decorate a home with flair and personality that will last a lifetime. Military spouses decorate a home with flare tempered with the knowledge that no two base houses have the same size windows or same size rooms. Curtains have to be flexible and multiple sets are a plus. Furniture must fit like puzzle pieces.Other spouses have immaculate living rooms and are seldom used. Military spouses have immaculate living room/dining room combos. The coffee table got a scratch or two moving from Germany, but it still looks pretty good. Other spouses say good-bye to their spouse for a business trip and know they won't see them for a week. They are lonely, but can survive. Military spouses say good-bye to their deploying spouse and know that they won't see them for a month, or for a remote, a year. They are lonely, but they will survive. Other spouses, when a washer hose blows off, call Maytag and then write a check out for getting the hose reconnected. Military spouses will cut the water off and fix it themselves.Other spouses get used to saying hello to friends they see all the time. Military spouses get used to saying good-bye to friends made the last two years. Other spouses worry about whether their child will be class president next year. Military spouses worry about whether their child will be accepted in yet another new school next year and whether that school will be the worst in the city...again. Other spouses can count on spouse participation in special events, birthdays, anniversaries, concerts, football games, graduation, and even the birth of a child. Military spouses only count on each other; because they realize that the Flag has to come first if freedom is to survive. It has to be that way. Other spouses put up yellow ribbons when the troops are imperiled across the globe and take them down when the troops come home. Military spouses wear yellow ribbons around their hearts and they never go away. Other spouses worry about being late for Mom's Thanksgiving dinner. Military spouses worry about getting back from Japan in time for Dad's funeral.And other spouses are touched by the television program showing an elderly lady putting a card down in the front of a long, black wall that has names on it. The card simply says, "Happy Birthday, Sweetheart. You would have been sixty today." A military spouse is the lady with the card. The wall is the Vietnam Memorial. I would never say military spouses are better or worse than other spouses are. But I will say there is a difference. And I will say that our country asks more of military spouses than asked of other spouses. And I will say without hesitation that military spouses pay just as high a price for freedom as do their active duty husbands or wives. Perhaps the price they pay is even higher. Dying in service to our Country isn't near as hard as loving someone who has died in service to our Country, and having to live without them. God Bless our military spouses for all they freely give... And God Bless America. By Colonel Steven Arrington The Soldier I want you to close your eyes and picture in your mind... the soldier at Valley Forge, as he holds his musket in his bloody hands. He stands barefoot in the snow, starved from lack of food, wounded from months of battle and emotionally scarred from the eternity away from his family surrounded by nothing but death and carnage of war. He stands tough, with fire in his eyes and victory on his breath. He looks at us now in anger and disgust and tells us this... I gave you a birthright of freedom born in the Constitution and now your children graduate too illiterate to read it. I fought in the snow barefoot to give you the freedom to vote and you stay at home because it rains. I left my family destitute to give you the freedom of speech and you remain silent on critical issues, because it might be bad for business. I orphaned my children to give you a government to serve you and it has stolen democracy from the people. It's the soldier not the reporter who gives you the freedom of the press. It's the soldier not the poet who gives you the freedom of speech. It's the soldier not the campus organizer who allows you to demonstrate. It's the soldier who salutes the flag, serves the flag, whose coffin is draped with the flag that allows the protester to burn the flag!!! "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." Whos Got Your Back! I am a small and precious child, my dads been sent to fight The only place Ill see his face, is in my dreams at night. He will be gone too many days for my young mind to keep track. I may be sad, but I am proud. My daddys got your back. I am a crying mother. My son may go to war My mind is filled with worries that I have never known before. Everyday I try to keep my thoughts from turning black. I may be scared, but I am proud. My son has got your back. I am a strong and loving wife, with a husband soon to go. There are times Im terrified in a way most never know. I bite my lip, and force a smile as I watch my husband pack My heart may break, but I am proud. My husband got your back. I am a soldier, Serving Proudly, standing tall. I fight for freedom, yours and mine by answering this call. I do my job while knowing, the thanks it sometimes lacks. Say a prayer that Ill come home. Its me whos got your back. Christmas Poem Twas the night before Christmas He lived all alone in a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone. I had come down the chimney with presents to give, and to see just who in this home did live. I looked all about, a strange sight I did see, no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree. No stocking by mantle, just boots filled with sand, on the wall hung pictures of far distant lands. With medals and badges, awards of all kinds, a sober thought came through my mind. For this house was different, it was dark and dreary, I found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly. The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone, curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home. The face was so gentle, the room is such disorder, not how I pictured a United States soldier. Was this the hero of whom I 'd just read? Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed? I realized the families that I saw this night, owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight. Soon round the world, the children would play, and grown-ups would celebrate a bright Christmas day. They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year, because of the soldiers, like the one lying here. I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone, on a cold Christmas eve in a land far from home. The very thought brought a tear to my eye, I dropped to my knees and started to cry. The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice, "Santa don't cry, this life is my choice; I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more, My life is my God, my country, my Corps." The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep, I couldn't control it I continued to weep. I kept watch for hours, so silent and still and we both shivered from the cold night's chill. I didn't want to leave on that cold, dark night, this guardian of honor so willing to fight. Then the soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure, whispered, "Carry on Santa, It's Christmas day, all is secure." One look at my watch, and I knew he was right. "Merry Christmas my friend and to all a good night."