Well, it’s Military Appreciation Month. Is that a yearly event? It should be. It asks us to appreciate and honor them, and we can do no less.

The pictures show combat soldiers, helmeted and loaded down with heavy arms.


Where are these figures now? In Iraq or out in the sand, keeping their heads down? It’s the stuff that makes men out of boys.

But it’s just Wednesday, followed by Thursday and Friday — until something bad finds them. This is where training and our prayers emerge.

But not all heroes wear capes and masks.


Teachers — who risk their lives to protect your children when a gun is at the door — look like you.

This month we also honor the husbands, wives, sons and daughters in blue, who leave their families at night to patrol the dark streets.

There must be a month for them.

There are the firefighters, men and women, many ex-military heroes, who came home to crawl through flaming attics to save a child, or pull a dying human or animal out of a flaming car and into an ambulance. Heroes never quit, never sleep.

I had a brother who, after serving in the armed forces, came home and became a firefighter. He did all of that, and this night, sleeps the sleep of a fallen hero.

Yes, heroes die in war, and we need them, honor them, praise them all. But let us honor this month as well those heroes who leave home after breakfast in our quiet black-and-white cruisers, never knowing if a simple faulty brake light on a speeding car is only that, or is it the last thing they’re going to see.


I knew many of those men and women. I “served” with them back in the Korean War. My service was with the United States Air Force. My weapon — a typewriter.

My “heroic” job was “Classified Documents Mover.” Typing the morning report, that was my “heroic” service. Well, somebody had to do it.

We, at our small base deep in the countryside, watched the last of the returnees come in the middle of the night, put them up in quickly erected tent cities, fed them, tended to their paperwork, and got them medical help.

We watched young, empty-eyed men who only had to spend nine months at bases “upcountry” with no names, just identified as K9, K14, K6.

Listen to those sirens that awaken you late at night, or in the middle of a school day when a lone stranger appears with a weapon in a hall where your child is having lunch.

Heroes, men and women, like those who appeared at my door near dawn to gently take my wife away.


How many times are you stopped at a green light to let a rescue van speed by?

It may be going to your street, your block, your house.

It’s Military Appreciation Month and we honor them all, even when the enemy is outside your child’s classroom. Hurry. The child they save may be yours.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 

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