You are a 19 year old kid. You are in the Ia Drang Valley, Vietnam. It is November 14, 1965 and you are dying.

Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8 – 1, and the enemy fire is so intense from 100 yards that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the Medi-Vac helicopters to stop coming in.

You’re lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you’re not getting out. Your family is half-way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you’ll never see them again. You see their faces and watch as they slowly fade away. And, as your world starts to fade in and out, you know today is the day.

Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear the sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn’t seem real, because there are no Medi-Vac markings on it.

His name is Captain Ed Freeman and he’s coming for you. He’s not a Medi-Vac, so it’s not his job, but he’s flying down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come. He’s coming anyway. Because you’re in trouble. Because he’s a soldier. Because it’s the right thing to do.

And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board.

Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the waiting doctors and nurses.

And, then…………he comes back. He comes back 14 more times in an unarmed helicopter and takes 31 of you out, 31 of you who would never have gotten out. And you’re alive today to tell your story; to tell his story. By the time it’s over, he is wounded four times.

Medal of Honor Recipient, Ed Freeman , died on August 20, 2008 at the age of 80. He was buried with full military honors. May God rest his soul.

If you are reading this, thank a teacher. If you are reading this in English, thank a soldier. Because, it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and who is buried under the flag, who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

The flag doesn’t fly because of the wind that blows it. The flag flies because each soldiers’ last breath blows by it.

Friday is Veteran’s Day. Fly your flag. It’s a little thing. It’s a big thing.