Saturday, February 17, 2007

Breaking the Silence

02/17/2007 – LANGHORNE, Penn. It has been a while since the last blog. Events, both world and of a personal nature, have necessarily occupied the time and caused much reflection. In light of all this, but in also looking toward the future, it is time to break the silence with a few words that have served this writer well for many years. It is hoped that they will serve you well too.

Caretakers of the Colors
by SSG Allan L. Winger

Each morning the caretakers and I go to our appointed place of duty. As the sun slowly rises, I hear the faint sound of a bugle. Then I hear the loud reverberating shot of a cannon.
Why does the bugle sound?
Why does the cannon fire?
My caretakers raise me up so that I may see.
All around me are soldiers. Some wear the rank of officer. Some wear the rank of enlisted. Some are civilian. Some are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. Some are children. But all are soldiers in their own way.
Then I see them salute me. Some by raising their hand to their brow. Others by resting their hand over their hearts. I try to hear what they say, but I can only make out four words,
"...One nation, under God..."
"What does that phrase mean?" I ask myself.
Then a strong voice comes from the wind that blows through me,
"'One nation' means a people united for one purpose. 'Under God' not only means in service to Me, but also that by My authority their nation was born and by My authority it is able to live on."
There is a moment of silence and then the voice continues,
"You belong to them and they belong to Me. The faces you see are not only the ones of the present, but also of the past and of the future."
The voice stops and I turn again to listen to the words of those below me, only to hear six other curious words,
"...Duty, Honor, Country...Faith, Hope and Love..."
"What do they mean?" I ask.
"They are your passwords," is the quick reply.
"By them they live and die. By them you were woven together one thread at a time. By them, your colors of red, white, and blue will always flow side by side. By them, the first stars were drawn together, and by them their number multiplied. And by those words, you and them through Me will never be brought to shame."
Then the voice grows silent for the day. The sun begins to fall behind the trees. I hear the sound of footsteps below me and the bugle sounds once more. As I look out over the faces, the cannon sounds, the soldiers salute, the second song is played and the caretakers lower me down. Gently but firmly, I am folded and tucked away for yet another night of peaceful rest. And as we make our way back home, I hear the voice of a young boy say,
"Dad, who are they and what are they carrying?"
"They are members of the Military Police Corps,"he replies.
"They live by the motto, 'Of the troops, and for the troops' and what they carry are the Colors of the United States of America,...One Nation, Under God..."
(Composed 24 September, 1981 at Fort Devens, Massachusetts)

There is still much to do and much to say as Americans and as a human race. After all, God is not done with us yet and that should give us both pause and concern as well as laughter and joy.

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Happy belated New Year and may God richly bless ya'll :-)