June 16 • 12:56 PM

Sharin' suds with soldiers in li'l cafe town in Germany

July 02, 2008
Editor's note: This is another in a series of travelouges written by 'Celery City Charlie,' whose wit and wisdom has appeared in our pages on and off over the past 20 years. When he's not jet-setting abroad or swinging a golf club, Celery City Charlie and his wife life in, well, Imlay City.

Dere Mr. Editer:

I had a different experience to report on thet was surely sumpthin that I didn't expect. The Missus was off shoppin or wandering around, whatever, and I had jist set down at a little sidewalk café in a town called Traben-Trarbach, which is on both sides of Mosel River. I saw these two U.S. Marines comin in my direction. I got up, walked out towards them, and as they got close I stuck out my hand, shook theirs and sed "I wanna thank you for your service to our country and if you'd let me, I'd like to buy you a beer." Well, I never knew any Marine thet would turn down a beer, much less a free one. They sed they'd be happy to drink a beer with me.

Well, Mr. Editer, thet begin an interesting two hours or so. Both of them were in the middle of their 3rd tour in Iraq and were in Germany for a little R & R. I asked how was it thet they were in Iraq fer the 3rd time? Both sed they had volunteered to go back twice. One of thim was a staff sergeant and he told me thet if he didn't think we were winning he wudda never gone back. They both sed thet everyday folks in Iraq are awful happy our soldiers are there. I sed thet from what I see in the papers and on t.v. it sure didn't look like we were winning and thet it seemed like a lotta them Iraqis wanted us out. Both replied thet what you see on the news ain't whats really goin on.

What I got from them were that next to being injured or killed, there biggest fear was thet the war they were winning in Iraq were goin to be lost by the politicians in Washington and the news media. One Marine sed Iraq was sorta like what Mark Twain sed about Richard Wagner's music; "it isn't as bad as it sounds."

They told stories of bravery and heroism thet made me proud of my country and, unlike certain people, not for the first time in my life. I'll tell you jist one such story to give you an example. The sergeant sed he was on board a helicopter thet were picking up some soldiers injured in a firefight. A young Lieutenant walked on along with some of his men being carried on. He never sed how bad he was hurt, just take care of his boys. As they were heading for the base, the Sergeant said he noticed blood on the floor by the Lieutenant. He went over to him to discover he had been shot in the stomach. He asked him why he didn't say sumpthin and the reply was "my boys have to be taken care of first." Thet Lieutenant didn't make it back alive.

Mr. Editer, thet story brought tears to these old eyes. This kind of bravery and self sacrifice by dedicated, loyal young men never makes the news. Only stories thet make our military look like murderers and abusers get publicity. I wonder sometimes where are the loyalties of these writers and talking heads or the politicians who say they support our troops, but do everything they can to undermine what the troops are fightin for.

I've always had respect for our men and women in uniform. Personal, Mr. Editer, after the time I spent with those two Marines I can't think of anyone I respect more, yerself included.

God Bless America

Mr, Editer,

—Celery City Charlie

Castle Creek
06 - 16 - 19
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