Arlington High School band… do you know?
Perhaps you got up this morning thinking you had to march today, and you weren’t too happy about it.
Maybe your motivation was that it counts toward your grade, and that made you don your uniform. Then again, maybe you wanted to be there for the veterans, plain and simple.
I am a veteran, having choked on a little sand in Chu Lai, Vietnam during 1968. I want you to know, and perhaps more importantly, I want you to sit down for a moment and fully understand what you did today.
When you marched down that street, following a bunch of older, wrinkled folks in all styles of dress, carrying our nation’s colors and banners, you became a healer.
Through your smart drill steps, you made someone feel young again. Through your unity of play, you made someone reach out to another someone whom 10 minutes before had been a stranger, and he/she became a fellow veteran. Through your beautiful renditions of our nation’s Anthem and other spirited music, you brought relief and release of feelings far too long suppressed.
Because you got up this morning and put that uniform on and performed at your best for just a little while, tonight a veteran allows a wife or a loved one to hear a story, share a moment, feel the pain, or better understand. That’s a big step for any veteran. and your music supported him/her taking that first step.
Did you see the young wife of a sailor (out to sea) as she listened to your music and brushed away a tear? Did you see that veteran from ‘Nam who stood on a painful leg and saluted? Did you see the old veteran’s wife who gently leaned her head against her husband’s shoulder and rubbed the old shrapnel wound from WWII that still bothers him sometimes. Did you see that grandchild searching his grandfather’s face in bewilderment, because he had never before seen his grandfather with a tear in his eye?
Did you see the WAC and the woman Marine who stood there and saluted the colors together? They served together in 1944, and they are sisters, and they shared their experiences today with younger veterans.
Some of you young kids will undoubtedly one day wear a uniform in service to your country. It is the prayer of every veteran that you wear it in peace and that you be so fortunate to come home to a magnificent marching band that can bring “it together” for you as you have for us here in Arlington. Thank you.
Richard L. Logg Sr.
MSgt USMC (Ret.)
Editor’s note: This letter first ran in 2002.