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R.I.P, Warrior...

Saturday March 09th 2013 - 6:46 PM EST
Added by: Don Shipley



R.I.P, Warrior...

I was little, but I remember all the kicks my Aunts and Grandmothers would give my Uncles and Grandfathers under the Thanksgiving table in a desperate attempt to shut them up when they’d speak about the War.

They told a lot of stories, really good ones, and it was the only time I ever chewed my food slowly so I wouldn’t miss a word. I was a set of eyeballs and ears at meal t...ime…

My Grandmother traced our family back to the Revolutionary War. My descendants and family have been involved in every conflict this Country has had since then.

Some of my best memories was my Uncles vacation home on Lake Erie, where we’d often spend a few weeks in the summer. Under his bed was a box filled with captured German Lugar pistols and knives with Swastikas on them that I’d marvel at.

My Mothers sewing room on our farm doubled as a War Museum and contained my Grandfathers steel helmet with Captains bars painted on it from WWII. A very LONG Bayonet from the Civil War, a Trench Knife from WWI, and my Fathers leather flight jackets and uniforms from his days as a Fighter Pilot, to name a few.

I grew up a loner. Our farm was large and isolated and I didn’t have many friends nearby. If I did feel like playing with a friend, I’d saddle a horse often and ride to his distant house.

I read a story awhile back that talked about somebody who said they hunted game before they could write their own name. I remember thinking how strange that was, how young he must have been, maybe 5 or 6 years old. It dawned on me quickly, that I was hunting with my Father when I was 5-years old;

I couldn’t write my name yet either…

My Father started me out with a single shot 410 shotgun, the very same gun I started my Son with when he was 5. I quickly graduated to a single shot 20 gauge and then an Ithaca 20 gauge pump where I became lethal with small game.

My grades in schools sucked. I stared out the windows knowing there was a big world out there and I longed to see it, all of it. My routine after school was to quickly load a box of shotgun shells and drag my two stupid dogs on my daily hunting trips after I fed and counted the cows.

Home work never entered the picture.

Bad grades or doing something to piss the Old Man off meant "restriction," as he put it. A Military term, I was never grounded, I was "restricted," and being restricted by the Old Man was the worst…

He didn’t lock me up, he didn’t ban me from seeing my friends, he didn’t take away my allowance… He did far worse, and it struck deeply into the core of everything I was and everything, the only thing, that was important to me…

He took my guns…

Even a day of restriction was painful, but he was pretty forgiving and understanding. Of course my pouting and being around him all day with nothing to do helped sway him to giving them back, sometimes…

When restriction ended… I hunted, all day, everyday…

My Father went from Air Force Fighter Pilot to commercial Air Line Captain. He sold the farm, my beloved farm and we moved to Maryland when I was 16. I lasted about a year in Maryland, quit school and joined the Navy. Quitting something as important as school and joining up, I can look back now and say was the smartest decision I ever made…

I was going nowhere and headed for trouble…

I will admit… If my Father hadn’t sold the farm, I’d have probably never served a single day in the Military. I’d be bailing hay, setting fence posts, and raising cattle today.

I write this as we deal with the tragic killing of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who I shared more in common with than just being a SEAL.

Chris grew up much like I did, much like many SEALs did.

Chris loved being a SEAL, and he loved his guns. R.I.P, Warrior…





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