This old hat south georgia today

John 15:13 in our bible says, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man would lay down his life for his friends.”

Fast forward to the present day. My boys are not whiners or mired in, self-pity. They are, however, proud of their service, when they were willing to lay down their lives for their country, and many did just that, even when it was popular not to. I overheard one of my boys recently telling his friend about his experience with the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam. He was only eighteen years old at the time. He jumped out of a Huey helicopter into what seemed like a quiet landing zone. His platoon moved out toward a tree line about three hundred yards away and proceeded cautiously into the jungle. A short time later, the boy was hit in the head and immediately fell to the ground, seemingly dead. He said he could not move or speak, but he was aware of what was happening around him and he could hear his buddies talking to each other. His buddies thought he was dead, but they refused to leave him there in the jungle and carried his body to a dust-off chopper for extraction. The medics thought he was dead and focused their attention on other wounded boys. Arriving at the aid station, medical personnel thought he was dead also, but one young nurse recognized a sign of life in him and because of that, he survived his wounds. Today, he wears a black patch over his eye, the right side of his head is mangled, and he has gone through constant pain and suffering as a result of his wounds. I was struck with amazement and admiration as he said, “If I were put in the same circumstances again, I would make the same decision to serve my country, even knowing what the outcome would be.”

Time has healed many of the wounds suffered fifty years ago and America has indeed come to recognize the bravery, suffering and patriotism of these young men as they shared this life changing experience. They ate together, slept together, laughed and cried together, fought together and sometimes died together. I wish they all could have received the honor and respect they should have received when they returned home, but for those still living, it is truly sometimes overwhelming. My brave boys have finally been given the respect and honor they deserve.

I often wonder if America learned any lessons from this tragedy. I also wonder why God allowed it to happen, but I know He worked his will in the lives of my boys. Many were brought to Christ and learned to trust in Him, even in the midst of terrible evil.

Now, as I look around America, I see hats of a new generation of warrior. They represent different wars and battlegrounds, Iraq and Afghanistan, but the young men wearing them haven’t changed. They are all young, strong and include the finest men America can produce. America has been blessed by God in order to represent Him in the world by being a force for good and freedom. There will always be another foe to face, another battle to fight, and thank God, there will be another American soldier to fight it.

Yes, I’m just an old hat, but I will never be separated from my boys. Whenever you hear someone complain about America, or disrespect the flag or our national anthem, remind them of my boys and what they did to give another generation of Americans the freedom we often just take for granted.

See you around town!
Signed,

This Old Hat

©2018 Warren Robinson. This story or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without prior written permission of the author. Permission requests must be made directly to the author.

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Warren Robinson
Warren Robinson is a lifelong resident of Lenox, Georgia. He graduated Valdosta State College in 1967 with a B. S degree in Business Administration/Finance at the top of his class. Warren taught 8th grade math briefly in 1967, volunteered for military service in 1968, knowing he would do a tour of duty in Vietnam where he served with the 1st Infantry Division and was awarded two Bronze Star Medals and an Army Commendation Medal. He returned home from military service in 1970 when he started work at the Robinson family business, Bank of Lenox. Soon after starting work, Warren’s dad died unexpectedly and he was plunged into heading up a bank at the age of 25 years old and remained at the helm for the next 41 years, retiring in 2011. Warren began writing about his military experiences in 2015 with his first book, “ Remembering Vietnam-A Veteran’s Story” published in 2016 and was soon followed by his second book, “Death Waits at the Depot” in 2018. Warren lives outside Lenox with his wife of 44 years, Margaret and their companion, a German Shepard named Trump. They have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. Warren is active in community organizations including the Rotary Club and The Gideons.

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