He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carrier didn't run out of fuel.
He is the barroom loudmouth whose behavior is outweighed in the cosmic scales by four hours of unparalleled bravery near the 38th Parallel in Korea.
She is the nurse who fought against futility in Da Nang and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years.
He is the POW who left one person and came back another.
He is the drill instructor who has never been in combat, but has saved countless lives by turning no-accounts into Marines.
He is the parade-riding legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.
He is the white-haired guy bagging groceries at the supermarket, aggravatingly slow, who helped liberate a Nazi death camp.
A vet is an ordinary and extraordinary human being — someone who offered his life's vital years in the service of his country.
He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known. We will never be able to repay the debt of gratitude we owe.