Brotherhood of veterans never forsaken
May 26, 2010
Editor's note: The following guest column was submitted by Susan Sam of Goodland Twp. Sam is an artist, photographer and documentary film maker. Her husband, Joseph, is a Vietnam veteran.
Over the next week thousands of veterans on motorcycles will converge on the Pentagon parking lot for the annual Rolling Thunder Rally. From communities across the country, riders will honor the memories of those who have sacrificed their lives in the defense of this nation and our freedom. Many speeches will be made during this time. I'd like to share one of them, written by veteran Vic Silvester of Odessa, Texas:
"Today I stand here with a sense of pride, but also wishing that you were not here. Because if you were not here, it would mean that 'They Are All Home,' and we would not have to be here. War, more than any other human activity, engages our senses: at times providing a 'rush' of fear, horror, confusion, rage, pain, helplessness, nauseous anticipation and hyper-awareness. It is in these imponderables, broken promises, and miscalculations that have accumulated over the years to paralyze the minds of many of the military, bureaucratic, and political leaders past and present. In the cauldron of war, 'It is the exceptional human being who keep their powers of dedication and decision intact, even after the Winds of War have become the Clouds of Time. Those exceptional human beings are the members of the Run For The Wall who stand here before us today.'
"But there is another aspect of military and human conflict that will not change, no matter what advances in technology, computing power, or political actions that may occur, the aspect of the Brotherhood of the Veteran. This is the aspect that each of you here today represent. The fog and friction of political priorities and bureaucratic broken promises, have distorted, cloaked, and twisted the course of events throughout the years, but the bond and promise of the Run For The Wall Veteran cannot be broken.
"You are the Riders of the Winds of War.
"You are Warriors, and members of a Warrior Clan that many will never understand.
"You serve the people of your community, and the United States of American, and you live with the values you learned as Defenders of Freedom.
"You will always place the Defense of the National you love first.
"You will never accept the Defeat of Freedom.
"You will never quit on the Brother- and Sisterhood of the Veterans and their families.
"You would never leave a fallen comrade on the Battlefields of War, nor forget a fallen comrade on the Battlefields of Life.
"You have the veteran foundation of being disciplined when needed, physically and mentally tough when needed, and you are still trained and proficient in your warrior tasks, being true to the heritage of your fellow veterans. You have each fought to maintain your survival, the will to defend your freedom, your community and yourselves, and you live up to the standards of those Run For The Wall Veterans who have gone before you. You are still an expert in survival, and you are still professionals. You stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America, both foreign and domestic.
"You are still a Guardian of Freedom and the American way of life. You are part of the Veteran Community who is keeping a promise. Promise that you will never forget, you will never give up until They All Come Home.
"You are Run For The Wall, riding for those who can't.
"On behalf of those who can't, I thank you, and on behalf of those who can't, I salute you. God bless, God speed and be safe."