Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In Honor of the Mighty Max

Success is never final;
Failure is never fatal.
It's courage that counts.
- John Wooden

I know not how many of the people who worked at the Pentagon in 2001 knew that the quiet, older, white-haired gentleman - a civilian employee working on Veterans' issues - was a bit of a celebrity.   Based upon his demeanor, if they did not come upon that information from an independent, third-party then they likely never learned it.  Not from him. 

(Retired) Master Sgt. Max Beilke was sixty-nine years old when he was killed where he worked - at the Pentagon - on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, when a small group of terrorist cowards crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.   Sgt. Beilke had retired from the United States Army in 1974, having been drafted into the service to fight in the Korean War in 1952, and after having served this nation and its people honorably for more than two decades. 

Then Sgt. Major Beilke had arrived in Vietnam in July, 1972, by which time the United States had already begun to flesh out the particulars of its withdrawal.  His assignment was to help process the departing American service personnel.  On March 29, 1973, he was - as per the United States Army - the last American combat soldier to leave Vietnam:

Although he retired from the United States Army in 1974, he most assuredly did not retire.  He became a tireless advocate for - and champion of - Veterans' rights.   On December 11, 2001, he was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

On your way out of this space today - and if not today then perhaps some other day when you pay a return visit - invest the four minutes and thirty-nine seconds necessary to watch the video below, appropriately entitled, "A Tribute To Max Beilke".  

It never hurts to be reminded just what a hero looks like...

"A Tribute to Max Beilke"

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