Over the weekend, I found myself volunteering at Warrior Horse, an Equine Assisted Activities program, located in Frierson, LA, where a 75-year-old Marine Vietnam Veteran gifted me with a challenge coin.

Needless to say, I was deeply touched by the gift. A gift, I didn't feel as if I deserved. He brushed off my concerns and not only gave me the coin, but a card that went along with it that read:

The Patch on My Back
By: SM

My vest is full of patches both old and new;
Representing places of I've been and things I do;

Most on the front and layered in a stack;
But none say more than the patch on my back;

I earned it in battle as a Combat vet;
It serves as a constant reminder to Never Forget;

The first thing you'll notice is the Skull and Spade;
A reminder that the debt of war is never paid;

Every color has a meaning and a story to tell;
And every story has a meaning we know all too well;

To show unity as warriors we use the Military Gold;
For every Branch of Service both new and old;

Red represents the blood that my brothers have bled;
Not all known by me, but a tear for each I've shed;

With heavy hearts we display the symbolic color Black;
For the Missing, the Prisoners and those who never made it back;

Yes, I know it's just a patch - made of cloth and thread;
But because of what it means I'll respect it until the day I'm dead!

Moving words, aren't they? As the daughter of a late Vietnam vet and Retired Lt. Colonel of the USAF, I still can't imagine the impact of war... and because of these brave soldiers, I'll never have to. Trust me, a day volunteering to help alleviate your PTSD symptoms is the least I can do. Thank you for your service.

For more background on the story behind challenge coins, watch the video below.

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