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A salute to our veterans

Posted by Richard on November 11, 2013

On Veterans Day, as on Memorial Day, I remember my dad, Col. Samuel R. Combs. In the memorable words of Robert Denerstein, “He answered his country’s call even before the phone rang, volunteering for the Army after Pearl Harbor.” He went on to make the Army his career. My dad died in 2006 just weeks before his 90th birthday. Honestly, he wasn’t the best father in the world. But he was a fine soldier.



To those who have served, and to those who serve today:

Thank you.

It Is The Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army

Copyright Charles M. Province, 1970, 2005

Thanks, Papa, for your many years of service. I love you and miss you.

On this Veterans Day, please make a contribution to an organization (or two or three!) that supports veterans or active-duty military personnel.

The Signaleer has a nice history of Remembrance Day, which begat Armistice Day, which begat Veterans Day, and he includes the classic World War I poem, In Flanders Fields. Worth a visit.

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One Response to “A salute to our veterans”

  1. Rick Shultz said

    I thought maybe if you didn’t mind too much that I would put my own personal tribute to my dad into print as well. He was,as you said of your father, not the BEST dad in the world, but I loved him and when he died in 1997 I wasn’t ready to let go of him. It hurt. What else can I say you know? Anyway, he was in the Air Force and when he retired he wanted to get a pilots license in the worst way but his health prevented it. And when he died in a freak accident in 1997, the following poem by a young WWII fighter pilot named John McGee was part of his obit. It is called “High Flight”

    “High Flight”

    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
    of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air….

    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
    Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
    And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    – Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

    Rest easy Dad.

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