I recently received a copy of a letter sent by Chet Graham to his friends in HQ2, in which he expressed his sentiments about what it means to be a member of the 508 family, and it is worth sharing with all:
“What we gave in our youth can never be taken away from us, and will never be duplicated. We served for freedom at the outset of our young lives. We were taught lessons that can only be learned from experience. We have seen the true value of human life freely given to save others. We know the true worth of honor upheld on the battlefield and in Prisoner of War camps. We learned to lead, to serve, to survive, and, yes, often at a price too great to bear…but we did!
“One cannot survive the experience of war without learning the true value of human life. We know the beauty of a land untouched by combat, of taking a walk for no reason other than that you want to; and of the magic of a child’s kiss; and knowing you protected that—the life of a child.
“This family is a brotherhood, that, for many reasons, is denied to others. They cannot join it because of the utter uniqueness of our mission. We won the ‘tally sheet’ of Duty, Honor, and Country.
“We gained our private peace in sweat, stink, and bitter cold…and in fear, pain, anger, and courage. But we believed!
“We came home to loved ones. We raised our families, and we have grown old. But never have we forgotten the many sounds, sights, and friends of battle.
“We have faith. We saw great pain and suffering, and we saw death! We survived, and for that and many reasons, we are grateful. Faith is foremost, which we had and have forever.
“We salute our friends who have gone. And now we march on our journey with the prayer that we do it as well as they.
“And now we listen for the shuffle of feet and wait for the chute opening…and we are ready for one more jump.
“To God, our country, our families,
and our loved ones, we say, “All the Way!!!”
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