I have a friend who served as a United States Marine in the Iraqi Province of Al Anbar. He had a front-row seat at the battle of Fallujah.

He used to be a jovial, conversant fellow. Since he returned from the Service, he’s more remote. His laughter seems like an after-thought.

Concentration comes hard – he doesn’t hear much of the small-talk that goes on around him.

He’s become a bit listless. I wouldn’t call him depressed, exactly, but I think he sees the world through a different set of eyes than do I.

I see my family out at dinner; he sees potential targets. I see a sweet, new-born babe; he sees a babe blown up by a suicide-bomber.  I see the hand of a friend; he sees the memory of friends that he’s lost.

I can barely kill a fly, but I would never, in a million years, ask someone to kill someone for me.

He did it anyway, without asking, for me and for people he doesn’t even know.

He did it for the love of his exceptional country – the only one that was founded to preserve the God-given rights of man – the United States of America.

He did it to defend her from Islamo-fascism, a fusion of church and state bent on imposing its will across the world, by hook or by crook, by election or by subjugation.

I don’t have the guts to ask him what – who – he’s had to kill or what else he’s seen. I know he wouldn’t want to talk about it anyway. He’s humble that way.

I just know that it took a toll. Not just then, but every day since.

Evil has hurt him, and fighting evil has hurt him. For the courageous, there’s no way around it. Evil exacts a price, one way or the other.

Every day, the Veteran pays the wages of courage.

So I don’t have to.

So I can enjoy friends and family, work and life.

So every day, I pray, that God will pay it for him.

For him, and for all those like him.

The Lord God knows what they did, and why. The Lord God knows about duty, honor, and sacrifice. The Lord God knows the price they pay.

May God’s invisible hand reward them, touch them, restore their life, and lift them like Lazarus from the grave.

Thank you, my friend.  Have a blessed Veteran’s Day.