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This is a repost of a diary I put up a long time ago. I thought it would be appropriate for Memorial day.

This diary started out as a comment in a 'pooties and woozles' diary, (http://www.dailykos.com/...) but I wanted to share it with a wider audience because after I read it in the comment thread I realized that it bridges the gap between fun and fundamental.  Before you see 'pootie diary' and go all apeshit about how I'm wasting your valuable intertubes time, hear this:  

Some Kossacks complain a lot about a pootie diary pushing other more substantive diaries off the list.  I never worry about where any diary, including mine sits on the list.  If it falls away into an oblivion of ones and zeroes, and the Rescue Rangers don't see fit to resurrect it, fine.  If pictures of cats and hamsters push a diary about Sudan or child abuse off the rec list, that is truly regrettable but sometimes we need to stop and breathe.  

Schmaltz and snark and diaries about orchids and recipes are vital elements in the Daily Kos community.  If we eat, sleep and breath politics and public policy 24-7, eventually we will just burn out.  'Non-substantive' diaries are the online equivalent of dog parks, bowling alleys, saloons, vegetable gardens, etc.  That place you go to to avoid punching your wingnut brother in the eye.  

If you just can't accept my words, maybe Robert Frost will be more persuasive:(Choose Something Like A Star)

But I digress...

This is a story about some vets and someone who loved them very much, without even trying.

       My Uncle Jake spent his last few years  at The Wisconsin Veterans Home in King, WI.  It is a nursing home & long term care facility.  There is a cemetery on the grounds where Jake is buried.  Since he passed on I have visited his grave and left him a pack of his favorite chewing gum, (long story, never mind.)  

      I have rambled up and down the identical rows of  G.I. headstones.  The precise rows have a sad, stately geometry as your point of view shifts and straight rows fan out to diagonals. The old soldiers are laid here in silent columns, ready for inspection.  Passing down the lines of stones, the litany: name/rank/branch of service/home town, hums behind your eyes.  Officers, NCO's and privates are mixed in no particular order.  Death has no respect for rank.  Simply being included in this silent, anonymous roll-call is a profound honor.  

      Driveways divide the graveyard into seemingly identical sections.  Where the rolling terrain dictates a tight turn, the driveways cross to mark off a small triangle of green grass.  Here a cluster of trees shade a stone bench and a single headstone.  From a distance one might think that this unique resting place must be set aside for the remains of a famous general or highly decorated hero.

     Brownie came to King after serving overseas and for a few years had the run of the place.  The population of the Hospital was growing with newly disabled World War Two vets joining the boys from the Great War and even a few old troopers from the war with Spain.  

      If you have ever been sad or tired and had a friendly pooch amble over and rest his head on your knee, you know how pleasant that little bit of comfort can be.  This dog walked among men whose lives were filled with constant physical and psychic pain.  Brownie brought honest unaffected joy into the lives of some very lonely men, asking only for a scratch on the head in return.  
      Veteran's best friend indeed.

Visit a veteran's hospital and volunteer.  Ask if they will let you bring a calm, quiet pet.  

Originally posted to ruleoflaw on Mon May 27, 2013 at 08:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by PWB Peeps, Rebel Songwriters, Military Community Members of Daily Kos, and Badger State Progressive.

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