by James R. Larson
The Perimeter, in the infantry, is a circle of men. It is half a squad, platoon or company. One half is on guard, staying vigilant, watching for the enemy, while the other half rests, sleeps and carries on with life as it is.
They are more than just men, they are a brotherhood in uniform.
They share their plans, dreams and hopes with each other. In hard times, they share their sadness, fears and pain. They face the enemy together, some like brothers, others like fathers and sons, and always as true friends.
They find a spirit in each other than binds them to one another in a bond that lasts forever.
As time passes, they will leave the service and each other. They will travel many different paths of life, some to prosper well and others not so well.
Somewhere in life's travels, these men find themselves lost in the world, confused, dazed, scared, unhappy and searching for something; something they are not even sure exists. They are not soldiers anymore, they are called veterans.
Somehow, in their search, they once again find others like themselves. They find brothers of the past, brothers of the Perimeter, that circle of safety, where someone else shares their pain, their confusion and their fear. That Perimeter where that fear is eased, where there is less confusion.
They share each other's pain in stories, in tears and in silence. Inside the Perimeter, eye contact can say it all. This Perimeter is a circle of life and a circle of death; it is a circle of wounded warriors, with wounds of both flesh and spirit. This Perimeter is a circle of iron that has never broken. It is a circle of common duty that knows no color, no creed and no religious ground. The circle will last forever, through the best of times and the worst of times.
The Perimeter is a place warriors will always seek - even for eternity. Just gaze out at our national cemeteries. For out there, on the outer edge, ever so vigilant, are those on the Perimeter.