May 25, 2007

Memorial Day Post

Each quarter I receive a magazine entitled Thunder Run. It is the official organ of my Regiment from Vietnam – 11th Armored Cavalry (Blackhorse). I always read this rag cover to cover. Some names I recognize...most I don’t. That doesn’t matter. Many were once my closest friends.

In the current issue is a short article by the Regimental Historian, Rex Harold. The article concerns the upcoming regimental reunion to be held in Louisville, Kentucky. In it, Harold wonders why so many troopers return each year (I haven’t been to a reunion since Joshua and I went to San Antonio eons ago. I’d love to go to Louisville in September, but I probably won’t.)

Anyway, the writer answers his own question, and I want to share it here with my multitudes of regular readers:

I now know why men who have been to war yearn to reunite. Not to tell stories or look at old pictures. Not to laugh or weep. Comrades gather because they long to be with the men who once acted at their best; men who suffered and sacrificed together, who were stripped of their humanity. I did not pick these men. They were delivered by fate and the military. But I know them in a way I know no other men.

I have never given anyone such trust. They were willing to guard something more precious than my life. They would have carried my reputation, the memory of me. It was part of the bargain we all made, the reason we were so willing to die for one another. As long as I have memory, I will think of them all, every day. I am sure that when I leave this world, my last thought will be of my family and my comrades...Such good men.

I think that is something I have wanted to say for 37 years.

One more thing: each issue has a message from the current Colonel Commanding the Regiment. In this report, the Colonel was telling how the current Regiment, stationed in Fort Irwin, California, had received a gift. I quote:

Jack Daniels Distillery hosted an event on Fort Irwin to unveil 6 customized barrels of their famous Tennessee Whiskey that they donated to the Regiment. Three barrels will be auctioned off later this summer to raise money for the Blackhorse Heroes’ Scholarship...

Now that sounds like the Regiment I remember. The first three barrels had to be taste-tested for safety.


livfreerdie said...

Hi Mr Harris. My name is Tom Bryant and I'm a neighbor of Chris and Vanessa. Just wanted to thank you for printing the article about military reunions and to let you know I passed it on to some old jarhead friends.

Bennie said...

Thank you, Mr. Bryant, and nice to meet you.