Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Be Proud America



"I must study politics and war so that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy." -John Adams

I woke up this morning to the walls of my hooch shaking and the unmistakable "thud...thud" of mortars being fired and impacting. I wasn't totally convinced that I had not dreamed the sounds and shudders so I laid there giving the wall that, "Are you playing with me?" look. Nope..."thud...thud...thud...thud", this time accompanied by SAF (small arms fire). After a quick kiss from my girls [' picture], I donned my "battle rattle" and headed out to take a look-see. Bingo voiced his objection to me leaving him inside, certain that once again, he was going to miss out on all the action.

I'm sure I was a sight in my green PT shorts, green sweatshirt, untied boots and beenie on my head. But darnit, if Haji wanted to come play in our house, I sure wasn't going to be late to the party. So there I stood...waiting for the call to arms. "Thud...thud...crack...crack...crack". Closer this time. "Wait a minute..." I realized that the barrage sounded awfully close to the range. "You dummy! It's Marines on the range!" As I adjusted my gear, I of course gave the casual "machismo" look around as if to say, "Yep, just as I thought...my gear fits just as good outside as it does inside". I ducked back inside as fast as I could.

A good friend of mine returned yesterday from a coalition hospital in Baghdad. He was injured in a roadside blast from an IED. And although his wounds were not life-threatening, they were serious enough to warrant evac to Baghdad. It was great to see him return, and I wanted to share his story with you. Let me tell ya', when you drive down the roads here, the pucker-factor is very high. Some of you probably don't know what the "pucker-factor" is, but those of you who do, you can appreciate it. At any rate, as you travel down the roads here, your greatest threat is from the IED's. You are constantly on edge. And for Sgt V., I'll call him, to have this fear validated, to have looked your worse fear in the face and come back for more, is either the mark of a very courageous Marine, or a masochist. Without a doubt, Sgt V. rated the purple heart, but he did not want it. Why? In his words, "I was in the right place at the wrong time...why should I be awarded for that? It's my job." He is a great example of having the right motives. He does not do his job in search of glory or fanfare, but rather for the intangibles; those rewards that you cannot see, but in your heart, you can feel.

This story has been told many times since this war began. The names and circumstances have been different, but the moral has remained consistent. We are not here on a glory-hunt. There is no medal or piece of colored ribbon that could even come close to meaning more to us than knowing that at the end of the day, we did our jobs and accomplished our missions. Sgt V's story is a microcosm of the bigger picture here. Your Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are accomplishing our missions while continuing the highest traditions of military prowess and soldierly virtues that has made our enemies fear and respect our nation...whether they care to admit it or not. War is a terrible thing and is without a doubt should be a nation's last option. But when a country is given no other option for a peaceful resolution to conflict, it's all or nothing. Rest assured that America's men and women are giving it our all and we will continue to do so every time that you call on us.

Say what you will about our war, but I challenge you to look into the face of any one of the Marines whom I've had the pleasure to go into combat with; search their souls and try to find anything in his eyes other than a dedication to his country. You would be wasting your time. Be proud America. Stand a little taller tomorrow when you go to work and if someone asks you why, you tell them that you live in the greatest nation on the face of the planet. Tell them that today, there are young men and women a world away fighting to preserve your way of life. Tell them that you are proud to be an American. If you disagree with this war, that is fine. No one can berate you for exercising your rights which we are fighting to defend. But unite under that banner which we call "Old Glory"...a banner which I would gladly go to my grave to defend.

(Linked at radiobs)

28 comments:

Tara said...

Glad to see you have a sense of humor to write about your misunderstanding of what you had heard. I'm sure Bingo was glad to see you come back so soon! I'm also glad to hear your friend is well and back!

Barb said...

Dittos to what Tara said - especially on the return of Sgt. V!

Love the picture, btw :-)

Anonymous said...

My son is serving in Ramadi, and when I haven't heard from him in a while, it's comforting to read your posts. Your heart, soul and spirit are like Chris' in so many ways. Thank you for providing a "connection."

JarheadDad said...

http://vmicraig.blogspot.com/

Hey anonymous (you really need to come up with a handle! ;-) ), LTC Covert is up in Ramadi right now visiting 3/7 if you want to check out his posts. Don't know if it will help or not but at least it's more news from the AO.

Outside in your PTs? heh! Now how hard is it to be cool in your flak and PT shorts? That's funny! So, you really don't think Bingo was trying to tell you something? :-)

Anonymous said...

God Bless you and thank you for your commitment to this great nation and its ideals. It truly brings a tear to my eye to read your comments and try to comprehend what it must be like to put it all on the line, on behalf of those of us whom you dont even know.

May you and your family prosper and I truly thank you and your fellow soldiers for all you sacrifice on our behalf. May I someday be half the man that you and your fellow troopers are.

Godspeed and be safe.

Cheryl Friend said...

All of you make me so proud to be an American.

dyzgoneby said...

Sgt V sounds alot like my Marine. He wasn't happy when they evacd him out. The didn't release him, he walked out back to his guys. Yeah that one almost got him into trouble. Svt V is a prime example of a true Marine.

I stand tall knowing men like you, my Marine and your fellow Marines are watching my six.

CJ said...

Happy that your friend is back. LOL about the 'mortar' thing! You guys just keep on making us more and more proud! Thank you!!

AFSister said...

Oh, to be a camel spider on the ground to see you jump out of your hooch in half gear- only to figure out the attack was range practice! ha!!

As for the rest.
Very well written, and very true of just about every soldier I've heard about describing their medals. "wrong place at the right time, and I was just doing my job". You guys never cease to amaze me. Truly.

Peter said...

The medal doesn't mean anything to Sgt V now, it will in a couple more years at promotion time. That purple shaft may just be the tie breaker.

Michaelb34 said...

What you are doing is a great inspiration. Words cannot express my admiration. Stay safe, and God Bless!

"Frankly Opinionated" said...

Damn! And for so many years I thought that we "Screamin' Eagles", were the hairy legged ones. After listening to that latest Duece Four video this morning, reading this, and catching up on milblogs; I can no longer say: "yer gittin' 'er done, dudes". From now on it's: "YER GITTIN' 'ER DONE, DUDES", don't ever think that your Commander-in-Chief thought less than that of you when he formulated his terrorist killing plan. Wish I wasn't so damned old. I'm here for you with my keyboard as my weapon.
nuf sed

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