"Thank you, sir," he said as I left the room. For what, I always think to myself, never knowing how to respond as I finish another consult for another wound infection from another blast injury in another soldier injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

What do you say? You want to, need to, say something, but it sticks in your throat. You can't come up with anything adequate. I'm just doing my job, I think to myself; it's you who has given everything. I should be thanking you.

Lt. Col. Emil Lesho, U.S. Army

Silver Spring

Twenty-one shots ring out. Like the cold winter air, the sound is crisp yet jarring. We pay our respects as we do every day, a grateful ritual of honor and tribute. I am one of seven, and together in unison we salute a fellow American. We ask for no recognition. Your service is thanks enough. As each volley reverberates through Arlington National Cemetery, an echo of gratitude sounds in return. We do not know your story, but what you represent inspires us all. We will be here tomorrow, and so will our eulogy of praise.

Pfc. Craig Rader, U.S. Army


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