Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Purple Heart Price Is Never Cheap

The video appearing on Fox News of October 16, 2013 of a shattered Ranger in a bed with both legs lost, heavily bandaged and supposedly in a coma, broke my heart and when Josh Hargis, the wounded Ranger, suddenly opened his eyes and with great difficulty and pain, saluted the officer pinning a Purple Heart on his chest, I could not hold back the tears of pride. God bless you Ranger. When at the end of hopefully a long life with your wife and child on the way, you visit Washington Mall and the memorials there to our veterans, spendthrift government has not had to shut them down. Even more hope that the War on Terror in Afghanistan is the last war we have to put our young men and women into harm's way to protect our freedoms and sadly add to the Purple Heart recipients such as you. Rangers Lead the Way!

A Purple Heart Is Never Cheap  

A Purple Heart is earned for a combat death or wound
 From the mere scratch or graze to body or mind scarred or ruined
Almost 2,000,000 vets since World War I have had the Heart added to their chest
To the foes of this nation, those vets fought to bring their reign to rest
Behind each Heart there is a story of courage, bravery or just bad luck to be told
Some Hearts ordinary mild mannered soldiers, others raging warriors unbelievably bold
Not necessarily all heroes unless the Heart was for those vets in combat that died
Upon whose sacrifice our freedoms, we mere civilians have too often relied
Unless you take the better view that all vets who put themselves in harm’s way
Against foes driven to capture, with all matter of arms, wound or slay
Were heroes then and with all others who the Heart did win, heroes today
Duty, Honor, Courage, a higher calling and values to seek and obey
There is in all wars the fog of war of men to confuse
 And the hand of God to the wounding and killing to diffuse
A Ranger in a hospital in Afghanistan wounded in a hospital bed
With two legs blown off by an IED, by all rights he should have been dead
Unconscious, drugged up, odds of survival at best somewhat slim
Another casualty of our longest war, blown apart with bandaged and missing limbs
When the commanding officers came to pin his Heart upon his unconscious chest
Eyes suddenly open, a struggled, crisp salute, an American Ranger will always pass the test
Not a dry eye among those in that hospital room
Tears of respect for a man to rise above fatal doom
Brokaw had it right, but also partially wrong
The name Great Generation to this soldier also belongs
The wounded veterans of the Great Crusade,
Met with cheers, GI Bill, jobs and ticker tape parades
While this to-be-father Ranger and his buddies are victims of an appalling budget charade
For dead soldiers of this nation, death benefits crassly delayed and unpaid
He is a Ranger, but could have been a sailor, airman, Marine, or soldier into harm’s way
His country called, he joined and armed did his job and the Heart price willing to pay
Josh Hargis you are a true hero; with men like you we should never be afraid
We should never allow our help to you and your family dim or in the slightest fade.

© October 16, 2013 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet