Out there on the wall.
A phrase made famous when uttered by the fictional United States marine colonel portrayed by actor Jack Nicholson in the 1992 movie, “A Few Good Men,” in which he described the state of mind entered into by all soldiers who stand guard over our nation whether at war or in peace time.
And a phrase familiar long before that movie to so many men and women who have served this nation at war and in peace time.
And it means, as a miffed United States Army Captain once reminded this Examiner during a tense conversation at a war front, that, in his words, “We are out here so that all of those people back there can go about their lives, and watch their football games, and go to their kids’ school plays and cruise the mall, and sleep at night, knowing that we’re taking care of things and standing guard…out here on the wall.”
By “We,” the good Captain also meant civilians, diplomats, journalists and others not in uniform who must, by necessity, travel into war zones.
But we are here now, to talk about the soldiers who are out there on the wall, and who have been out there, and one hopes, will always be out there on the wall.
And they have been there for generations, answering their nation’s call to duty.
And many of them did not return from that duty.
And many of them did that duty, and returned and live today, and remind us by their very presence, that we should be so very thankful for their service and their sacrifices.
Florida alone is the home of 1.7 million of those veterans who have served this country in peace time and war.
And Florida is the home of thousands of other soldiers now stationed at U.S. military bases overseas, and/or in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And Florida is the home of so many families whose sons and fathers and brothers and daughters and wives and sisters who have made the ultimate sacrifice in their nation’s service.
Soldiers like the honoree of this years annual Veteran’s Day Parade on Hanley Road on Saturday November 12.
That honoree being, Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Fuerst, of Tampa who was killed in action on 24, June, 2006 in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, when, while leading a mission in support of Operation Mountain Thrust, his unit came under fire from small arms and RPG fire.
Joe was 26. He had been deployed to Afghanistan as part of the Florida Guards 53rd Infantry Division. He is survived by his wife, Tara, and many family members and friends.
There are so many things one can do this Veterans Day weekend.
You can go out and buy a new car, or a mattress, or a tie if you wish, and at a discount. And you can eat at a restaurant at a greatly reduced price. Have a cookout and invite your neighbors.
And it seems, so many holidays dedicated to our soldiers come down to all of that.
Well, if you have the time, visit the parade, It kicks off at 10:30Am on Saturday, 12, November, and lasts until approximately 2PM.
The parade route goes down Hanley Road between Barry Road and Paula Drive.
There will be a lot of vets in that parade, and a lot of music, and a whole bunch of American flags, and speeches and songs, and a couple of big shots, like the Grand Marshall of the parade, Colonel Lenny J. Richoux, Commander, MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
And Joe will be there, in heart and spirit. Along with all of spirits and the memories of the thousands and thousands of soldiers who didn’t come back from the wall.
Saturday, November 12, 2011 10:30AM – 2PM