veterans day, nov. 11, 2010 The Living, The Dead, The Famed & The Forgotten. A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a check to The United States of America, payable in any amount, up to and including his life.—Author unknown Some years ago, in a mixed group children of freedom who honor the just before Veterans Day, a guy was contributions of our veterans. I want goin’ on and on about his plans for to share a few veterans’ stories you the holiday. I couldn’t help noticing may not have heard before. he did not once refer to it as “Veterans Let Us Remember… Day.” I asked him if he knew what the holiday was. During the Revolutionary War, “Sure,” he said. “It’s a federal when 4,000 British-led Hessians holiday.” I asked if he knew anything besieged the 600 patriot defenders about that holiday. He answered, of Fort Washington, 25-year old “Yeah; it’s a law; they gotta give you a Margaret “Molly” Corbin saw her day off, or pay you extra for working on husband killed at his cannon. She it.” I probed again, asking if he knew immediately leaped in, loading and it was Veterans Day, and its meaning. firing that cannon until the first enemy His look wasn’t really hostile or even grapeshot ripped into her chest and disdainful; just a bit annoyed and shoulder, then later shot away part of dismissive, as though I had brought her jaw. Gravely disabled, she became up something inconsequential, except the first woman awarded a disabled to some kind of military freaks. veteran’s pension. Today, Molly rests “Yeah, there’s that,” he said, and in honor in the chapel courtyard at went to get another drink; just another American looking forward to “a federal holiday.” Lest We Forget If you’ve read my scribbles at all, you In 1945, American soldiers know where my heart liberating an allied POW camp in lies on Veterans Day. Japan found a 77-pound starving I know where many airman, more dead than alive. of you stand on They knew his name immediately, Veterans Day, too. but couldn’t recognize him at The crew at Ranger all, though his photo had been UP was stunned splashed over the sports pages in at how many of the US for a decade. you ordered those In 1936, Lou Zamperini, still “Freedom Isn’t Free” in high school, went to Germany veterans’ T-shirts I The Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C.: Bronze lives on, but Korea as a member of the US Olympic showed you in the vets will too soon be gone… Thank them while you can. track and field team. He was on August issue. Some his way to becoming the world’s of you who phoned fastest distance runner. On a in your orders took a moment to tell West Point. childish dare, he attempted to steal your own stories; when you served, On Palm Sunday 2005, US Army Adolf Hitler’s personal flag from where and how. I wish I could have Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester’s squad der fuhrer’s stadium box. SS guards heard every one. was trailing a supply convoy near caught Lou and beat him nearly to And you GUNS readers who are Salman Pak in Iraq when it was death. Though he never fully recovered not vets, I know virtually without ambushed by about 50 terrorists. from his injuries, he went on to smash exception you are sons of liberty, Leigh Ann deliberately drove into the collegiate records in the mile, and daughters of independence and the kill zone to draw fire away from the nearly set a new world record. When 94 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • NOVEMBER 2010 civilian truck drivers, then dismounted and moved her squad right into the fedayeen trenchline, engaging them with rifle fire and grenades. When the smoke cleared, 27 lay dead and seven more wounded. Leigh Ann became the first woman in US history to receive a Silver Star in close-quarters combat. She’s still out there serving her country. Marine Major Megan McClung— attractive, feminine, sharp as a tack and hard as nails—served as a Public Affairs Officer in Ramadi, Iraq. Unlike the hairsprayed talking heads on TV, she actually got out there in public, calmly accepting the attendant risks. A Boston U and Naval Academy graduate; marathon runner and Ironman triathlete, Megan was in the last month of her year-long Iraq deployment when her Humvee was destroyed by a massive IED. She became the highest-ranking servicewoman killed in action in the War on Terror. For Megan, there were no heroics; just exemplary, courageous and dedicated service.