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Three Meter Zone | JD's Bunker | Poetry | Chapel | American Journal




Paul Schenidmill


Since that fateful day last year, etched in red in our nations history, when some misguided miscreants and scurrilous jackanapes (translation: an activist preacher's words for pond puke well below sea level) cowardly and violently attacked a way of humanity they couldn't imagine or appreciate if received by immersion, inhalation, and inoculation; a great deal of things have changed.  We could debate or choose not to debate that these changes should have been in place prior to, but I'd have no way of knowing whether I'd be debating a sitter or a stander.  I'm a firm believer that the majority of critics and hecklers have always contributed primarily, to the absolute accomplishment of nothing.  Therefore, I choose not to debate what could've or should've been.  I choose to recognize some folk who always have been and presently are, contributing to the preservation of Now.    

I'm speaking of soldiers.  That's right, soldiers.  Folk most people don't appreciate or even recognize until there's a conflict that just might affect my weekend barbecue I've planned.  Soldiers - the sentinels of the freedom and liberty of our nation. 

I have the privilege of working on a military installation.  Fort Belvoir, VA to be exact.  No longer can I breeze through the gate.  No longer can I sashay on post like I'm entitled to be here, and that's a good thing in my opinion.  Now, when I drive through the gates, I'm stopped, I checked, I'm scrutinized, and I'm glad.  I don't view this as an inconvenience or a nuisance.  I view it as an opportunity to see some heroes up close and personal.  I know these are not the heroes swatting flies in Khandahar, or blinking sand from their eyes in the Afghani mountains.  I know they're not on a carrier or an airstrip, but nonetheless, I view them as heroes.  I'm aware that weapons issue is probably around 3:00am and Guard Mount is probably around 4:00am.  I'm aware that most Day Cares for their children aren't open for business before 6:00am at the earliest, and yet, they greet the understanding and sensitive, and the ungrateful and insensitive with the same amount of dignity and professionalism that only a hero could possess.

The attitude of the heroes I've encountered is not limited to Fort Belvoir either.  I've observed it at Andrews and Bolling, AFB, Fort Myer (the stomping grounds of my last active duty assignment), and the Marine Annex.  Sure, I've only experienced some areas within the MDW (Military District of Washington), but you'd be hard pressed to convince me that what I've seen is limited to this area.  I believe there are heroes like unto the ones I've encountered at the gates of every facility, and or installation remotely involved with the military and I am so very grateful.  Because I'm an ol' retired infantryman, I'm authorized to mess with them.  On rainy days, I tell them, "I appreciate you heroes being out here, now stay wet!"  On cold days, I've repeated my sincere statement, but ended it by encouraging them to, "Stay cold!"  There hasn' t been one time when the heroes haven't responded with a resounding, "Hooah."


My hats off to you heroes, MP's, augmentees, or whatever your unit of assignment serves to be.  Yours is not an insignificant responsibility.  You're protecting much more than material assets, dependants, DoD civilians, and contractors.  You are protecting our greatest and most unrecognized asset; your fellow heroes who could be called upon to move out at a moments notice.  Thank you for being Heroes At The Gates.


Thank you for being willing and available to serve.

Well, I gather you knew this next part was enroute to this location.  The Bible tells us in the last book of the books about a place called Heaven.  It is described as a glorious place, unimaginable in its glory.  It consists of a city of pure gold, like unto clear glass (Revelation 21:18).  There's a throne with an omnipotent authority seated upon it, encased in an emerald-like rainbow.  The throne is surrounded by 24 seated leaders in white apparel with crowns of gold upon their heads, and before the throne is a sea of glass reminiscent of crystal with 4 beasts surrounding the throne   (Revelation 4: 2-6).  I have a sense that these beasts are not like those we associate on this earth with horror and terror, but I want to point out something else.  I want to point out the gates.  Revelation 21:10-21, talks about this wonderful and wondrous city descending out of heaven from God with a great high wall having 12 gates (3 at each cardinal direction), all consisting of one (for me, unimaginable) pearl (that's probably where we get the term, "Pearly Gates").  Again, we can choose to debate or not to debate, but I don't believe any of those gates are back gates.  I believe they are all in the front, that they are all entrances and not used as exits.  I also believe that there are Heroes at those Gates, willing and available to greet and serve those who have entered, or will enter in.                                  


Copyright 2002, Paul Schneidmill, All Rights Reserved