November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

Being there: A Veterans Day message

By Col. Keith Nightingale, U.S. Army, retired

Once a year, our nation honors its veterans. Every day, veterans honor us all, with the fruits of their service.

The veteran recalls, reflects and remembers the very personal and unique aspects of time served in uniform. 

All veterans have a binding thread that only they can know and share: knowledge that they were part of something larger than themselves.

As years go by and the conflicts of history dim, veterans speak of their wars and their place in them. "I was a soldier. I was a sailor. I was a Marine. I was a Coasty. I was in the Air Force. I was there."

When the nation sent them there, they did things no one else could do, and saw things they did not want to see but would always remember. They were there.

There is where they knew people for a millisecond and remembered them for a lifetime. There is where no one else could go, except them.

There has had many forms: sea, air and land. Wet, dry, unbearably hot and insufferably cold. There might be urban, rural, jungle, mountain or utter desolation, drenched in rain, heated from the sun and cooled by the chill. Bureaucratic base camps, comfortable ports and airfields could be found there, as well as some of the most austere environments imaginable. There, as a large enterprise, treated its many and various parts differently but imparted a unifying memory that could only be shared by those that had been there. 

There is a special place that comes out of slumbering memory for pensive moments in time, many years later. 

As they retreat into the dimness of time, veterans are awarded the luxury of reflection about being there, among a sea of faces, voices, friends and experiences. The most horrific experiences are tempered by time, remembrances of comrades and immense inner pride in having been there.

A sergeant is remembered today who quickly sized up a situation at an explosive and deadly moment while there. His voice is calm an focused. "I will take 6 to 12. You take 12 to 6. Lay out your magazines like this. Load like this. Focus and aim on movement.

Don't fire on auto. We could be here a while." 

Several times throughout the night, he would reassure them, bring more ammo, share water and provide an immense comfort despite being there. They can't recall his name, and they never saw him again, but they will always remember his craggy face and calm demeanor when they so desperately needed it. It is his face that wells from their memories, despite thousands of other faces recorded over time in the images of their minds. His face was from there.

As life progressed, the world could be divided between those who knew what it was like to have been there, and those who did not.

Someone may run the board room and draw a seven-figure income but was never responsible for the lives of soldiers in a flicker of time. The responsibility was 100 percent theirs. Wealth and status mean little in comparison to the choices they made, the orders they gave and followed, and the companionship that could only be earned by being there. 

Being there provided a theater of life unequaled by anything done before or since. There was something visceral and primordial about all those helos rotating on the strip, tanks rolling down the road, close-in airstrikes loosing their bomb loads directly overhead, the last-second hover over the burning LZ before the bird lands, the snap of the cable and steam rising from the catapult, the crash of claymores, the surprise detonation of a bomb, the shock of the first sharp rifle crack impacting on the man ahead of them, the smoke, dust and confusion of the millisecond after entering a grenaded room, the inharmonic snap of many rifles firing and brass expending, the thump of grenade launchers, the over-arching staccato of machine guns, breathless weighted soldiers running, bodies flying, people yelling and screaming, leaves, trees and mud-walled enclosures exploding around them, the quiet rythmic hissing and popping of a sucking chest wound as the blood seals the plastic wrap and the torn and bleeding body by the roadside in your uniform. These and a thousand more sounds and images stick with veterans who were there. They stick forever. 

I was there. 

In quiet solitude, there is a single thread that binds veterans. It is an immense pride about being part of something larger than themselves. It is the knowledge of having done much more than most ever do, performed well, took great risks, relied on good people and served a real purpose, by being there.

An anonymous soldier wrote a poem for all of them, those who were there:

SOLDIER

I was that which others did not want to be.

I went where others feared to go, and did what others failed to do.

I asked nothing from those who gave nothing, and reluctantly accepted the thought of eternal loneliness... should I fail.

I have seen the face of terror; felt the stinging cold of fear; and enjoyed the sweet taste of a moment's love.

I have cried, pained, and hoped...but most of all, I have lived times others would say were best forgotten.

At least some day I will be able to say that I was proud of what I was...a soldier.

 

Col. Keith Nightingale, U.S. Army, retired, is a Vietnam War veteran and frequent contributor to The American Legion Magazine.

 

Wednesday, Sep. 19: All times Eastern
M:
TBA
Lesley at Pine Manor
M:
Final
Hunter 3, at Medgar Evers 0
M:
Final
at Mary Washington 2, Catholic 0
Recap Recap
M:
Final
Brevard 1, at Guilford 0
Recap Recap
M:
Final
at Penn State-Berks 8, St. Elizabeth 0
M:
Final
Muhlenberg 0, at DeSales 0
Video
M:
Final
Adrian 3, at Bluffton 0
Video Recap Recap
M:
Final
Rhode Island College 3, at Dean 0
Recap Recap
M:
44:58 1st
0 St. Joseph's (L.I.)
0 St. Joseph's (L.I.)
M:
Final - 2OT
Lasell 1, at Regis (Mass.) 1
Recap Recap
M:
Final
Penn State-Harrisburg 4, at Clarks Summit 0
Recap
M:
Final
at Washington College 4, Wesley 0
Video Recap Recap
M:
Final
at SUNY-Old Westbury 2, Mitchell 0
Recap
M:
Final
at New Jersey City 3, St. Joseph's (Bklyn.) 0
Recap Recap
M:
Final
at Manhattanville 4, Farmingdale State 0
Video
M:
Final
at Keene State 2, RPI 1
Recap
M:
Final
at Neumann 3, Widener 1
Video
M:
4:00 PM
Lehman at John Jay
M:
Final
at Bridgewater (Va.) 4, Shenandoah 0
Recap Recap
M:
Final
Gettysburg 2, at Lebanon Valley 1
M:
Final
at Swarthmore 3, St. Mary's (Md.) 1
Video Recap
M:
Final - 2OT
Manchester 0, at Huntington 0
Video
M:
Final
St. Joseph (Conn.) 3, at Anna Maria 1
Video Recap
M:
Final
at Fitchburg State 2, Eastern Nazarene 1
Recap Recap
M:
Final
Bryn Athyn 3, at Gwynedd-Mercy 2
Video Recap
M:
Final
at SUNY Delhi 7, Southern Vermont 1
Recap
M:
4:00 PM
Staten Island at CCNY
Video
M:
Final
Cairn 4, at Valley Forge 0
M:
Final
at Stevenson 2, Delaware Valley 0
Video Recap
M:
Final
Waynesburg 2, at Pitt-Greensburg 1
M:
Final
Capital 1, at Wooster 0
Recap Recap
M:
Final - OT
at Washington and Lee 2, Christopher Newport 1
Recap
M:
Final
Dickinson 2, at Frostburg State 1
Video Recap
M:
Final
Newbury 1, at Husson 0
Recap
M:
Final
at Maine Maritime 11, Me.-Machias 1
Recap
M:
Final
at Johnson and Wales 1, Colby-Sawyer 0
Recap
M:
Final
at New Rochelle 6, Vaughn 3
M:
Postponed
Gustavus Adolphus at Viterbo
M:
Final
at Concordia (Wis.) 4, Marian 0
Video Recap Recap
M:
Final
at Wartburg 3, St. Olaf 0
Video Recap
M:
Final
at Hope 1, Carthage 0
Video Recap
M:
Final
at St. Joseph's (Maine) 5, Suffolk 0
Video Recap Recap
M:
6:00 PM
Mount St. Vincent at Montclair State
M:
Final - 2OT
SUNY Poly 2, at Alfred State 2
Recap Recap
M:
Final
Piedmont 4, at LaGrange 1
Video Recap
M:
Final
at Becker 6, Fisher 1
Video Recap Recap
M:
Final
Marietta 3, at Bethany 0
Recap
M:
Final
at Curry 1, Framingham State 0
Recap Recap
M:
Final
Medaille 2, at Thiel 0
M:
Final
Covenant 6, at Berea 2
Video Recap
M:
Final
Eastern Mennonite 2, at Ferrum 0
Video Recap Recap
M:
Final
at Salve Regina 3, Coast Guard 0
Video Recap
M:
Final
at Baldwin Wallace 2, Oberlin 1
Video Recap
M:
Final
Franciscan 1, at Washington and Jefferson 0
Video Recap
M:
Final - OT
at Salem State 2, Mass-Dartmouth 1
Video Recap Recap
M:
Final
at MIT 4, Wentworth 0
Video Recap Recap
M:
Final
at Hood 1, Marywood 0
Video Recap
M:
Final - 2OT
Juniata 0, at Lancaster Bible 0
Recap
M:
Final
at Randolph 2, Randolph-Macon 1
Video Recap Recap
M:
Final
Franklin and Marshall 3, at William Paterson 0
Video Recap
M:
Final
at Wilmington 4, Earlham 0
Video Recap Recap
M:
Final - 2OT
St. Francis (Ind.) 2, at Trine 2
Box Score Recap
M:
Final
at FDU-Florham 3, Centenary (N.J.) 1
M:
Final - 2OT
Stockton 2, at Moravian 2
Video Recap Live stats
M:
Final
Norwich 2, at Castleton 1
Video Recap
M:
Final
at Mass-Boston 1, Worcester State 0
Recap Recap
M:
Final
Penn State-Abington 8, at Gallaudet 1
Video Recap
M:
Final
at William Peace 1, North Carolina Wesleyan 0
M:
Final - OT
at Drew 4, TCNJ 3
Video Live stats
M:
Final
Ohio Wesleyan 2, at Otterbein 1
Video
M:
Final
at Roanoke 12, Southern Virginia 0
Recap
M:
Final
at New York University 3, Baruch 2
Video Recap
M:
Final
Wilkes 1, at Susquehanna 0
M:
Final
at Roger Williams 2, Wheaton (Mass.) 0
Box Score Recap
M:
Final - OT
DePauw 3, at Rose-Hulman 2
Recap Recap
M:
Final
at Lynchburg 1, Emory and Henry 0
Video Recap Recap
M:
7:00 PM
La Roche at Geneva
M:
Final
Virginia Wesleyan 1, at Hampden-Sydney 0
Recap
M:
Final
Sage 2, at Elms 0
Recap Recap
M:
Final - 2OT
Mount St. Joseph 1, at Ky. Christian 1
Video Recap
M:
Final
at King's 1, Cabrini 0
Video
M:
Final
at Rowan 3, Haverford 2
Video Recap
M:
7:00 PM
Neb. Christian at Nebraska Wesleyan
M:
7:00 PM
Huntingdon at Mississippi University for Women
M:
Final
Chapman 3, at Caltech 2
M:
Final
at Muskingum 3, Defiance 2
Video Recap Recap Recap
M:
Final - 2OT
Elizabethtown 1, at Alvernia 1
Video
M:
Final
John Carroll 3, at Hiram 1
Video Recap
M:
7:30 PM
York (N.Y.) at Brooklyn
Video Live stats
M:
7:30 PM
Albright at Rutgers-Newark
M:
Final - 2OT
Kean 1, at Ursinus 1
Recap Recap
M:
Final
at Case Western Reserve 4, Heidelberg 0
Recap Recap
M:
Final
at Union 5, SUNY-Cobleskill 1
M:
Final
Connecticut College 3, at Trinity (Conn.) 0
Recap Recap Recap
M:
Final
Clarkson 1, at SUNY Canton 0
M:
Final
at North Park 3, Albion 1
Video Recap
M:
Final
at Illinois College 2, Blackburn 0
M:
Final
Emory 3, at Birmingham-Southern 0
Recap Recap
M:
Final
Aurora 4, at Illinois Tech 1
Video
M:
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 1, Lake Forest 0
Video Recap
M:
Final
Dominican 3, at Rockford 0
Recap
M:
Final
MSOE 3, at Edgewood 2
Recap
M:
Final
at Chicago 7, Carroll 0
Recap
M:
Final
at Benedictine 3, Concordia-Chicago 1
M:
Final
Millikin 3, at Webster 1
Video
M:
Final
at Wisconsin Lutheran 10, Lakeland 0
M:
OT - 98:25
1 Bethany Lutheran
0 Buena Vista
Video
M:
Postponed
0 Augustana
0 UW-Platteville
M:
8:30 PM
Loras at Saint Mary's (Minn.)
M:
2nd half - 36:42
0 La Verne
2 Redlands
M:
2nd half - 30:45
0 Whittier
1 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Video
M:
2nd half - 30:07
1 Pomona-Pitzer
1 Cal Lutheran
Video
W:
Final - 2OT
Pitt-Greensburg 0, at Waynesburg 0
W:
Final
Mississippi University for Women 3, at Wesleyan (Ga.) 0
W:
Final
Benedictine 2, at Concordia-Chicago 0
W:
Final
Wilmington 4, at Earlham 0
Video Recap Recap
W:
Final
at Colby-Sawyer 3, Norwich 1
Video Recap
W:
Final
at Notre Dame (Md.) 3, Christendom 0
W:
Final
at Becker 3, Nichols 2
Video Recap
W:
4:00 PM
Lehman at Medgar Evers
Video
W:
Final - 2OT
Elms 2, at Western New England 1
Video Recap Recap
W:
Final
SUNY Delhi 3, at Morrisville State 0
Video Recap
W:
4:00 PM
CCNY at York (N.Y.)
W:
Final
Adrian 1, at Alma 0
Recap Recap
W:
Final
at Huntington 5, Bluffton 0
Video Recap
W:
4:00 PM
Staten Island at John Jay
W:
4:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at DeSales
W:
Final
Anderson 2, at Trine 0
Recap
W:
4:00 PM
Stockton at Eastern
W:
4:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Cairn
W:
Final - OT
Simmons 2, at St. Joseph (Conn.) 1
Recap Recap
W:
4:00 PM
Montclair State at Vassar
W:
Final - 2OT
Thiel 1, at Medaille 1
W:
Final
Bridgewater State 5, at Salve Regina 2
Video Recap Recap
W:
4:00 PM
William Smith at Misericordia
Video
W:
Final
at Salisbury 4, Rutgers-Newark 1
Video Recap
W:
Final
Connecticut College 2, at Coast Guard 1
Video Recap Recap
W:
Final
at Olivet 6, Defiance 0
Recap Recap
W:
Final - 2OT
Sweet Briar 1, at Trinity (D.C.) 0
Recap
W:
Final
at Grove City 4, Penn State-Behrend 0
Recap
W:
Final
Allegheny 2, at Geneva 1
Video Recap
W:
Postponed
Mary Washington at North Carolina Wesleyan
W:
Final
Penn State-Abington 4, at Gallaudet 0
Video Recap
W:
Final
at Lynchburg 5, St. Mary's (Md.) 0
Video Recap Recap
W:
Cancelled
Methodist at Randolph-Macon
W:
5:00 PM
Mount St. Mary at Ithaca
W:
5:00 PM
Arcadia at Rowan
W:
Final
at King's 2, Centenary (N.J.) 1
Video
W:
Final
at Pfeiffer 4, Southern Virginia 2
Video Recap
W:
5:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at Ripon
Video
W:
Final - 2OT
Gustavus Adolphus 0, at Carleton 0
W:
Final
Rhodes 1, at Huntingdon 0
Video Recap
W:
5:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at UW-La Crosse
W:
Final
at Dominican 14, Alverno 0
Video Recap
W:
Final
at Delta St. 4, Hendrix 0
W:
Final
at Union 4, Ramapo 0
W:
Final
Messiah 4, at Elizabethtown 1
Video
W:
Final
Clarkson 3, at SUNY Canton 0
W:
Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 5, Emerson 0
Recap Recap
W:
5:30 PM
Grinnell at Central
W:
Final
Beloit 1, at Lake Forest 0
Video Recap
W:
Final
Iowa Wesleyan 6, at Mount Mary 1
Video Recap
W:
Final
at Rochester 1, Oswego State 0
W:
Final
at Guilford 2, Piedmont International 0
Recap
W:
Final
at Rhode Island College 7, Framingham State 0
Video Recap Recap
W:
Final
Hanover 4, at Spalding 1
Video Recap
W:
Final
Suffolk 1, at Albertus Magnus 0
Video Recap Recap
W:
Final
Farmingdale State 1, at Western Connecticut 0
Recap
W:
Final
Wesley 9, at Brooklyn 1
W:
Final
Greensboro 3, at Marymount 1
Recap
W:
Final
Dubuque 2, at UW-Platteville 1
W:
Final
at Saint Mary's (Minn.) 2, UW-River Falls 1
W:
Final
Simpson 3, at Cornell 0
Video Recap
W:
Final
at Millsaps 1, Judson (AL) 0
Video
W:
2nd half - 90:00
1 Bethany Lutheran
0 Buena Vista
Video
W:
Final
at Carthage 3, UW-Oshkosh 2
Video
W:
Final
Webster 5, at Illinois College 0
W:
Final
Alvernia 2, at Immaculata 1
W:
Final
Westfield State 2, at Keene State 0
Recap Recap Recap
W:
Final
at Wesleyan 5, Mount Holyoke 0
Video Recap Recap
W:
Final
Wheaton (Mass.) 2, at Endicott 1
Recap Recap
W:
7:00 PM
Utica at Nazareth
W:
Final - OT
at Gettysburg 2, McDaniel 1
Video Recap Live stats
W:
Final
Cabrini 2, at Rutgers-Camden 1
W:
Final
Rose-Hulman 3, at DePauw 1
Video Recap Recap
W:
Final - OT
Randolph 2, at Averett 1
Video Recap Live stats
W:
Final
at Kalamazoo 9, Manchester 0
Recap
W:
Final
at Gwynedd-Mercy 1, Bryn Athyn 0
Video Recap
W:
Final
Shenandoah 2, at Stevenson 1
Video Recap Recap
W:
Final
Susquehanna 1, at Wilkes 0
W:
Final
Penn State-Harrisburg 2, at Penn College 0
Recap
W:
Final
Widener 2, at Goucher 0
Video Recap
W:
Final
at Wentworth 1, WPI 0
Recap Recap
W:
Final
at Centre 5, Thomas More 0
Recap
W:
Final - 2OT
at Southern Maine 2, Thomas 1
Video Recap Recap
W:
Final
Johns Hopkins 5, at York (Pa.) 2
Video Box Score Recap
W:
Final
Bridgewater (Va.) 2, at Frostburg State 0
Video Recap
W:
Final
Chatham 1, at Mount Union 0
Video Recap
W:
Final
Mount St. Joseph 6, at Ohio Wesleyan 2
Video
W:
Final
Illinois Wesleyan 3, at Franklin 0
Video Recap
W:
Final - 2OT
Haverford 2, at Muhlenberg 1
Recap
W:
Final
William Paterson 2, at St. Joseph's (L.I.) 0
Video Recap
W:
Final
at Bard 6, SUNY-Purchase 0
W:
Final
at Washington College 8, Bryn Mawr 1
Video Recap Recap
W:
Final
Moravian 1, at Albright 0
Video Recap
W:
Final
Lasell 11, at Anna Maria 0
Video Recap
W:
Final - 2OT
UW-Whitewater 0, at Knox 0
Recap
W:
Final
at Pomona-Pitzer 1, Cal Lutheran 0
Recap
W:
Final
at Whitworth 3, Whitman 1
Video Recap
W:
Final
at Chapman 5, Caltech 0
Video Recap
W:
Final
at Penn State-Altoona 4, Juniata 1
Video Recap Recap
W:
Final - OT
Kenyon 1, at John Carroll 0
Video Live stats
W:
Final
at Johnson and Wales 6, Regis (Mass.) 1
Recap Recap
W:
Final
at Maine Maritime 6, Me.-Machias 0
Recap
W:
Final
Transylvania 1, at Maryville (Tenn.) 0
Recap Recap
W:
7:30 PM
FDU-Florham at TCNJ
W:
Final
St. Norbert 4, at Lawrence 1
Video Recap
W:
Final
at Coe 2, St. Catherine 1
W:
Final
Wisconsin Lutheran 3, at Lakeland 1
Video
W:
Final
Illinois Tech 4, at Aurora 0
Video
W:
Cancelled
UW-Eau Claire at Luther
W:
Final
at MSOE 3, Edgewood 0
Video Recap
W:
Final
Concordia (Wis.) 4, at Marian 1
Recap Recap
W:
Final
Wartburg 3, at Augsburg 1
W:
Final
Marietta 2, at Bethany 1
W:
2nd half - 30:21
0 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
0 Whittier
W:
2nd half - 30:05
0 Redlands
0 La Verne
Wednesday, Sep. 19: All times Eastern
M:
Final
at Mary Washington 2, Catholic 0
Recap Recap
M:
Final
at St. Joseph's (Maine) 5, Suffolk 0
Video Recap Recap
M:
Final
at Hope 1, Carthage 0
Video Recap
M:
Final
at Lynchburg 1, Emory and Henry 0
Video Recap Recap
M:
Final
Franklin and Marshall 3, at William Paterson 0
Video Recap
M:
Final - OT
at Drew 4, TCNJ 3
Video Live stats
M:
Final
at North Park 3, Albion 1
Video Recap
M:
Final
at Chicago 7, Carroll 0
Recap
M:
Final
Emory 3, at Birmingham-Southern 0
Recap Recap
M:
2nd half - 30:45
0 Whittier
1 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Video
Wednesday, Sep. 19: All times Eastern
W:
4:00 PM
William Smith at Misericordia
W:
Final
at Lynchburg 5, St. Mary's (Md.) 0
Video Recap Recap
W:
5:00 PM
Arcadia at Rowan
W:
5:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at UW-La Crosse
W:
Final
Messiah 4, at Elizabethtown 1
Video
W:
Final
at Centre 5, Thomas More 0
Recap
W:
Final
Johns Hopkins 5, at York (Pa.) 2
Video Box Score Recap
W:
Final
Illinois Wesleyan 3, at Franklin 0
Video Recap
W:
7:30 PM
FDU-Florham at TCNJ