What can you do for your country?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 4, 2009

In May 2007, I had the opportunity to spend Memorial Day in Washington, D.C. The three-day experience was exciting, but the highlight of the trip was meeting a veteran from Levittown, Pa. He was 87-years-old Master Sergeant Albert Ludwig (retired).

We met early each morning in the lobby of the hotel to have coffee and chat, and we’ve kept in touch ever since. For the past two Memorial Days, he wrote and told me that he was looking for me in the hotel lobby.

Next year, 2010, he plans to be in Washington, D.C. for Memorial Day and on May 28, he will celebrate his 90th birthday. “You have to come!” he said. God willing, I’ll be there.

Next week, we celebrate Veterans Day! My friend sent me something he wrote for his local newspaper last Veterans Day. I think it appropriate and maybe refreshing to share it with you:


By Master Sergeant Albert Ludwig (Ret.)

When my feet hit the sand on Normandy Beach in June of 1944, it marked the end of one journey and the beginning of another. I had never been more than two miles from my home before I was drafted into the Army from my small hometown of Clarence, Pa., (pop. 577).

I was soon put into training and sent all over the United States: Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, California and finally a layover in NYC before heading to England to prepare for the D-Day invasion.

I fought my way from Omaha Beach to the Baltic Sea, and with every step, I could feel my country behind me. We had something called the “red ball express” that operated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, delivering supplies.

Back home there was not a soul in America that was not touched by the war effort. Women worked in factories, children collected scrap metal, and all were tuned into the goings-on in Europe and the Pacific, hoping in vain to hear any news of their loved ones fighting abroad.

Today, as our young men and women risk their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are worlds away in both body and spirit. The shared sacrifice of World War II has been replaced by a vicious apathy that has permeated all levels of our society, from our televisions and newspapers to our daily lives. Rarely, if ever, does the cost and burdens of war ever reach our front door. I am concerned that our soldiers today are being forced to fight without the support of their country.

Regardless of your political affiliations or beliefs, you must recognize that America’s sons and daughters are risking their lives on foreign soil and deserve our support.

So, I would ask you: What did you do today for freedom? Today, at the front, soldiers died…today, what did you do?

Next time you see a list of dead and wounded, ask yourself: What have I done today for freedom? What can I do tomorrow for freedom? Every civilian can be a soldier.

To our veterans: Once a vet, always a vet. There is no mission too difficult and no sacrifice too great. You did your duty, you performed with honor, but I think your country let you down. Our troops today need your support as well.

If you have any questions or comments, please write to Get High on Life, P.O. Drawer U, Reserve, LA 70084, call (985) 652-8477, or e-mail: hkeller@comcast.net.