Thursday, December 01, 2005

A fatefull day

In 2003, I spent the Holiday season in Iraq. I don't have a lot of friends, and very few family members that actually keep in touch, so I didn't get a whole lot of correspondence while I was over there. There were a few very dear friends of mine in Alaska that kept in constant touch via e-mail while I was there though, and they kept my spirits high. Christmas is hard on many military members. The holiday season has the highest suicide rate of the year because of the loneliness that our job generally causes us, especially when we have family that we are away from for the first time in a long time, or when we're single and long for the comraderie and togetherness we knew as children. Many people just don't understand what it is we go through while we are away from our friends and family, and, sadly, many people just don't care. This Christmas we again have thousands of military members around the globe, away from their family and friends, and who feel isolated, lonely, and uncared for.

For Christmas, I got half a day off from work. We generally worked 12hour shifts, 7 days a week. It wasn't fun, and it wasn't easy. I remember what it was like. I also remember that I got 3 care packages, and a few letters. Mail is the life and soul of morale while deployed. I could get a letter from my worst enemy, and I would be overjoyed because I got a piece of mail. People here in the states take little things, like a letter from a friend, for granted, especially in this day and age of computer technology where I can send you an e-mail in an instant. When you're deployed though, you don't always have time to read your e-mails. You can't take them with you when you go off shift so you can read them one more time before you go to bed. You can't sniff them, or hold them to your heart, and you can't keep them private, cause someone is always hovering over your shoulder waiting for their turn on the computer so that they can check their e-mail too.

There is another date in December that we should all remember, and remember well. It is the date of one of the most infamous events in American history. Until September 11, it was remembered as the most tragic, single event in American history. While I was in Iraq, I wrote a short essay and sent it to someone back at my homestation asking him to try to get it published in the base newspaper, but he was unsuccessfull. Below, I write it for you, as it is something I feel everyone should know and think about. Especially as the anniversary date of this tragic event draws near.

A Day To Remember
Sunday, December 7, 1941, a day that should resound in the hearts of every American. On that day, for those of you that do not recall, we were intentionally and deliberately attacked. Bombs and gunfire fell on us like rain in a thunderstorm. We were caught unaware and unprepared. A valuable lesson was learned that day at the cost of thousands of American lives. On that day, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor!
60 years later, we learned that lesson all over again. This time though, the American lives lost were civilian men, women, and children much more than the military. And once again, we, as a nation, decided to take the battle to those who hate our freedom and peace.
This year, December 7th falls on a Sunday all over again. As that day approaches, I ask you to think on these things. It's the same fight now as it was then. It's the same price to pay now as it was then. And we learned the same lesson now as we did then. These are some things we need to remember in light of that lesson. 1) We are Americans. 2) Freedom has a cost; it never has been, and never will be, free. 3) Americans will always, willingly, pay the price for that freedom.
Some people back home think we shouldn't be here now. Some think we should leave now, and that our leaving is past due. Some think our president made the wrong decision to come here in the first place. I have one question for those people and any of you who may believe the way they do. "Where would this country be, if we had chosen to turn the other cheek back in 1941 as you expect us to do now?"
We are the United States of America! We put on this uniform for our country by choice! We chose to protect the rights we enjoy! We chose to stand while others run! We chose to place our own lives at stake so that those at home wouldn't have to! We are the strongest, richest, most powerful country in the world, and it is the choice to serve, that we have made, that made that possible, for nothing is stronger than the heart of a volunteer. My friend, our choice to do this makes us volunteers.
So, on December 7, 2003, remember where we've been. Remember those have have done this and gone before. Remember that now, just as then, we will prevail. And when you finally go home, you will do so knowing that you are the reason we are free.
Keep in mind that I wrote that in 2003 while I was deployed. I know December 7th isn't on a Sunday this year, but the message still remains the same. Also, keep in mind that I was writing it for a primarily military audience. I share this with you all so that you might be reminded of things that are important. If we can't recall and learn from our past, then we are doomed to repeat the mistakes we made again.

1 comment:

Lana said...

you're a good writer, hubby!
had we been on speaking terms while you over in Iraq you woulda gotten a ton of mail!
i love you!
Your wife, Lana