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Bloviating Zeppelin: Honor Our Heroes

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Honor Our Heroes

The following has been winding through the internet and its message bears repeating here for my readers:

by CPT. Stephen R. Ellison, M.D.

I am a doctor specializing in the Emergency Departments of the only two military Level One trauma centers, both in San Antonio, TX, and they care for civilian emergencies as well as military personnel. San Antonio has the largest military retiree population in the world living here.

As a military doctor, I work long hours and the pay is less than glamorous. One tends to become jaded by the long hours, lack of sleep, food, family contact and the endless parade of human suffering passing before you. The arrival of another ambulance does not mean more pay, only more work.

Most often it is a victim from a motor vehicle crash. Often it is a person of dubious character who has been shot or stabbed. With our large military retiree population, it is often a nursing home patient. Even with my enlisted service and minimal combat experience in Panama, I have caught myself groaning when the ambulance brought in yet another sick, elderly person from one of the local retirement centers that cater to military retirees. I had not stopped to think what citizens of this age group represented.

I saw "Saving Private Ryan." I was touched deeply. Not so much by the carnage, but by the sacrifices of so many. I was touched most by the scene of the elderly survivor at the graveside, asking his wife if he'd been a good man. I realized that I had seen these same men and women through my emergency department and had not recognized what magnificent sacrifices they had made. The things they did for me and everyone else that has lived on this planet since the end of that conflict are priceless.

Situation permitting, I now try to ask my patients about their experiences. They would never bring up the subject without the inquiry. I have been privileged to an amazing array of experiences, recounted in the brief minutes allowed in an emergency department encounter. These experiences have revealed the incredible individuals I have had the honor of serving in a medical capacity, many on their last admission to the hospital.

There was a frail, elderly woman who reassured my young enlisted medic, trying to start an I.V. line in her arm. She remained calm and poised, despite her illnessand the multiple needle-sticks into her fragile veins. She was what we call a "hard stick." As the medic made another attempt, I noticed a number tattooed across her forearm. I touched it with one finger and looked into her eyes. She simply said "Auschwitz." Many of later generations would have loudly and openly berated the young medic in his many attempts. How different was the response from this person who'd seen unspeakable suffering.

Also, there was this long-retired Colonel, who as a young officer had parachuted from his burning plane over a Pacific island held by the Japanese. Now an octogenarian, he had a minor cut on his head from a fall at his home where he lived alone. His CT scan and suturing had been delayed until after midnight by the usual parade of high priority ambulance patients. Still spry for his age, he asked to use the phone to call a taxi, to take him home, when he realized his ambulance had brought him without his wallet. He asked if he could use the phone to make a long distance call to his daughter who lived seven miles away. With great pride we told him that he could not, as he'd done enough for his country and the least we could do was get him a taxi home, even if we had to pay for it ourselves. My only regret was that my shift wouldn't end for several hours, and I couldn't drive him myself.

I was there the night MSgt. Roy Benavidez came through the emergency department for the last time. He was very sick. I was not the doctor taking care of him, but I walked to his bedside and took his hand. I said nothing. He was so sick, he didn't know I was there. I'd read his Congressional Medal of Honor citation and wanted to shake his hand. He died a few days later.

The gentleman who served with Merrill's Marauders, the survivor of the Bataan Death March, the survivor of Omaha Beach, the 101-year-old World War I veteran, the former POW held in frozen North Korea, the former Special Forces medic -- now with non-operable liver cancer -- the former Vietnam Corps Commander. I remember these citizens.

I may still groan when yet another ambulance comes in, but now I am much more aware of what an honor it is to serve these particular men and women.

I have seen a Congress who would turn their back on these individuals who've sacrificed so much to protect our liberty. I see later generations that seem to be totally engrossed in abusing these same liberties, won with such sacrifice.

It has been my personal endeavor to make the nurses and you enlisted medics aware of these amazing individuals when I encounter them in our emergency department. Their response to these particular citizens has made me think that perhaps all is not lost in the next generation.

My experiences have solidified my belief that we are losing an incredible generation, and this nation knows not what it is losing. Our uncaring government and ungrateful civilian populace should all take note. We should all remember that we must -- "earn this."

These people, well called The Greatest Generation, to include my mother and father, saved not only this country, but literally saved the entire planet from enslavement. I received this e-mail from my father, an 87-year-old retired USAF Colonel, who served in World War II and during Vietnam, both in active duty and as a Reserve. As I am fond of saying: "If it had rivets, he flew it."

God bless America. God bless The Greatest Generation.



Blogger Ranando said...

Great post, glad you put it up.

God bless your father and the next time you see him, say thanks from me.

Sat Sep 08, 07:40:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous gunz said...

Same here BZ,

All who belonged to this greatest generation on Gunz' side of the family have all passed away.

There were many in my family that served in the military during WW2 and I miss the family reunions and hearing their stories.

Great post.

Sat Sep 08, 07:52:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Ranando said...

One more thing BZ.

My dad passed away in April of this year, my best friend.

Don't forget to tell your father how much you love him.

Don't forget to tell all your loved ones how much they mean to you and how much you love them.

God Bless.

Sat Sep 08, 08:29:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Ranando: I shall indeed, and thank YOU.

Gunz: my father is the last. Mom passed away at age 80, in 2002, a few months after her birthday and one month after her 60th anniversary.


Sat Sep 08, 08:30:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Ranando: I am very sorry for your loss. I am very lucky to still have my father. That's one thing he told me: if he could do it all over again, he would have visited his father one final time.


Sat Sep 08, 08:31:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Gayle said...

My condolences to Ranando for the loss of his father too.

BZ, this is a very moving post. Even though you said it's weaving it's way through the internet, I've not seen it before and enjoyed it thoroughly, although it brought up tears.

Thank you!

Sun Sep 09, 11:22:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Gayle: how quickly we forget how conveniently we write these posts, with the freedom to express our thoughts and not have the Mind Police visit -- unlike certain European countries in transition.


Sun Sep 09, 05:32:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey BZ-
Thank you for sharing. I also had several family members who served in WW II, Korean and Vietnam. My former husband served in the military also.

I am a nurse and have heard many stories from the residents who served. I used to do private duty for a woman who was a nurse under General Patton. She shared many a story with me.

Thank you again for sharing, it was good read.

Sun Sep 09, 06:40:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Anonymous: that is a bit Karmic -- on the order of Patton, when I was early in Patrol I responded to a death call. I looked about the residence and noticed a number of old framed black and white photos of the man with another officer who remarkably resembled G.S. Patton. It turns out the deceased was one of Patton's numerous drivers during the war. In retrospect, I wish I'd asked for one of the photos. I got the feeling from the survivors that they couldn't have cared less about their father.


Sun Sep 09, 07:27:00 PM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Growing up with an extended family, I did get to learn some things about WWII that also points to the depth of understanding of why the conflict was horrific and necessary. My father, a socialist of very old school, knew his eyesight would not put him in combat, but still went through the physical with his nose about 2' from the eyechart. He then went on to work for an engineering firm making large scale electrical motors and had no qualms about support for the war. Very old school that put forth that capitalism of liberal variety must *win* before socialism can even *start*. He told me of a co-worker so afraid of combat that he used acid on his eyes... my father, ever the stoic, said he understood the reason but said that was not the way to do it.

Uncle Chet was in basic training when a meningitis outbreak hit the camp. Put into quarantine, cared for until it had passed, those that were infected and survived, like Uncle Chet, were mentally askew. He came to distrust family, bring hardship to his marriage and even threw his youngest son out of the house when he turned 18. The family took that son in, and then that very same son was the one who would take his father back decades later as he was too outcast from everyone to survive. That helped until Uncle Chet's final years, when his delusions and paranoia thrust him from the only person he had come to trust.

Uncle Teddy was the sweetest soul I have ever known. He was always ready to help out anyone in his neighborhood in need of a ride or food or just a visit to ensure they were doing well. He worked in a food distribution warehouse and was always getting the 'rejects' that were not cosmetically attractive but still wholesome to bring to those shut-in, disabled or just plain poor. He had served in the war, and would talk to no one about it, save to his wife and direct children. He had come back with what we would term PTSD, and he would awake at night and find himself attacking already,his body reliving his times. He had served in Sicily, in Italy at Montecasino as best as I can figure out. Mountain warfare of infiltration. He was discharged because the months of that took its toll with '1,000 yard stare'.

These are glimpses of WWII that you do not see from films, television, articles... the toll paid by that generation were high, but the stakes were dear. When those who seek to bring freedom and liberty down, they must be confronted and that, often, means war. I do not want war but have lived with its after-effects and had to understand it so I could understand the looks and views of those around me. War was brought to them by foul attack and then declarations by those seeking to end our views and way of life.

Today we face predators seeking the same thing, and we dare not name them as being predators because that would be to judge them based on their views and actions to uphold those views. There are those that would turn away from these predators and not even think of them as such. The generation of my father fought so that we could *name the names* of our enemies and know them for what they are. Not recognizing a predator for what it *is* is not 'civilized'. It does not make you lofty in civilized goals and above all others to refuse to even think that there is a value upon the system in which we live.

There is a name for those that will not recognize a predator for what it is and confront it.


I refuse to be such and uphold that for which my father's generation fought and others did likewise all the way back to the Revolution.

They paid their toll in blood and mind and soul so that we could see predators for what they are and deny them an easy meal of our liberty and freedom. I will not deny that gift they gave so that I can be more 'civilized' and die as prey. I will not give into the fear and horror of war. I detest its cost, but I detest, to the absolute limits, the cost of not fighting. I will not give up on the Revolution of America now, nor ever as it is worth the dearest price of all: the last free man on Earth fighting to be free. That will not be me as I will have perished well before then so as to give that last person that chance to fight... and maybe, just maybe, WIN.

And set others free in that doing.

Mon Sep 10, 04:00:00 AM PDT  

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