November 8, 2017 by Harvey Kalmenson Leave a Comment A VETERAN’S EXCERPT: So, There we stood, waiting in a cold mist for the next earth moving command to be given. Without warning the booming voice of our sergeant major brought our meaningless mass together. We became a solid block. Twenty five hundred men became an imposing figure. We were at attention. The battalion commander appeared and marched to the center of the parade grounds. The commander was himself an imposing figure. He was taller than any of us, and carried himself the way his West Point Credentials required. He was a full bird colonel. The emblems glittered on his shoulders as he viewed us as if inspecting the most powerful group of warriors ever seen on this planet. To a man we were taken by our leaders presence. Our sergeant turned a sharp about face and reported to the colonel, “all present and accounted for as ordered sir,” he bellowed and saluted simultaneously. The colonel returned his salute, and the sergeant moved to a side position, taking his place and becoming one of us. Again the colonel did his review. His eyes inspected all of us with an amazing display of pride. At a precise moment the sergeant was again in front of our body. He shouted “parade rest” and as one unit we snapped into position. The sergeant again moved aside and our colonel took charge. The man¹s presence was nothing short of inspiring. All was still as the colonel prepared to speak. Then it came: “Men, you are about to experience what only a very select group have ever had the privilege of experiencing.” At that moment the battalion color guard appeared. To the beat of a single drum they marched into position on the parade grounds. If you can visualize the configuration of a football field; place the color guard at one end of the field. The colonel would be directly behind the guard. Next to enter was the Fort Lewis Army marching band. They took their position directly behind the color guard and in front of the colonel, and our (twenty-five hundred-man) battalion. “Today you will be representing your country, the United States of America. Are you ready?” As one we responded with “yes sir!” “Then give them hell men!” He shouted. The chills came in waves. What might seem cornball was anything but. The band struck up with John Philip SousesWashington Post March, and at the precise moment the colonel bellowed again, “Give them hell men.” He turned and signaled as if he was conducting a cavalry charge. We marched as one. And then the final emotional wave, which has remained with me all of my life. I caught sight of our American flag leading our way. To date my chest has never expanded as much as it did on that very chilly day. We weren’t the same group of young boys messing around as we did before the parade. The next day we all returned to kidding around and still playing our schoolboy tricks on one another. But as this day wore down there were conversations about some unexpected feelings. For me personally, I never totally shared up until now what a life changing experience it was. For those of you who have visited with me on Sparks Ave. in Burbank, you will recall our flag flying proudly in front of our studio doors. It¹s there every day that I¹m there. This coming Friday, November 10, we pay tribute to our veterans. I pray you share my pride. Today, I repeat the words, I remain proud to say I am a veteran. I MAY BE A LOT OLDER, BUT MAKE NO MISTAKES, I’M STILL MARCHING. ASK CATHY!
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