By Douglas V. Gibbs
Considering my proximity to the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, I knew that when I went into a local restaurant for a Veteran's Day lunch being offered free of charge to active duty military and veterans, the place would be packed. The venue did not disappoint, and late lunch with my wife was also a late lunch with a roomful of proud United States Marines.
After a considerable period of time outside, our names were called, and my wife and I settled into a booth along a wall that gave me ample view of the entire restaurant. Tables of high and tight haircuts graced the room. The conversation was constant, and the faces were smiling. Some had just returned from overseas, while others were preparing to depart. They knew what was coming in the terms of the fight against terror, but they didn't care at that moment. Lunch with their brothers and sisters, both active and retired, was all that was important at that moment.
My wife was surprised, but I was not. A military man can hardly pass up an opportunity to join family with friends over a good meal - and Veteran's Day provided just the excuse.
For veterans like myself, however, Veteran's Day has a different flavor than it does for those on active duty. Active Duty Personnel see Veteran's Day as a day to thank those that went before them, and to prepare for what is ahead of them. Veterans, however, spend no time patting ourselves on the back. We are too much in awe of the fine young fighting force of today. As a veteran I sat at my table soaking in the stories, and shaking as many hands as possible. I removed my U.S. Navy Veteran hat for my meal, but proudly replaced it on my head as we walked out of the restaurant, nodding and winking at my new brothers and sisters - those ready to join those engaged in combat overseas.
America has thrived, and risen at a rate beyond past civilizations. As America has grown and prospered, our elite fighting force has made the speed bumps unnoticeable. Liberty has been protected, and has spread, thanks to the men and women serving past and present in the United States Armed Forces.
I felt honored to share the room with all of those Marines. I felt fortunate to be considered a part of the fraternity of fighting men and women. I felt blessed knowing that our freedoms are in the hands of those fine folks.
America is in good hands, as it has always been.
God Bless America, and God Bless the United States Military.
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary