Friday, November 11, 2005


Letter to WaPo Says it Better Than I Can

The Truths of Veterans Day: "Michael is an amazing young man and every bit the U.S. soldier. He spends a lot of his days visiting his driver, Dennis, who was wounded in the same explosion.
Dennis, a 21-year-old private first class, is the son of Russian immigrants. His parents are working on gaining their U.S. citizenship. His mother was aided by an interpreter in her discussions with Dennis's doctors -- one example of the Army's 'leave no stone unturned' approach to making the best of a bad situation.
Both Michael and Dennis have undergone numerous operations in the past year. We have visited them often, taken them out to dinner and had them over to the house. On one occasion, shortly after the explosion, I asked Dennis what he hoped to do in the future. Sitting on my couch, with the tracheotomy tube still in his throat and his head bandaged, he said, 'I just hope I can reenlist.' I had to leave the room -- too emotional for an old soldier.
Veterans Day is for honoring all these brave young people who are the vanguards of freedom for this generation, as well as to honor those who suffered similarly in previous generations. Take a moment to remember the sacrifices they will have to live with -- God bless them.

I felt I needed to find a way to thank those that have gone through hell for us, but this letter seems to say it better. I encourage you to read the whole letter.
Yesterday, I talked to a fellow who was in the Navy. He didn't talk about it often, and it became clear he didn't even tell prospective employers. I asked why and he said that it didn't matter. Shouldn't it? Shouldn't employers, friends, family, and others care that this man signed up to work for all of us, to do the dirty work?
Not talking about it seems to be a common thread for those who have served. It doesn't often matter in what way they serve. In talking openly with former intelligence officers, former Marines, and other such service people, there is an obvious humility. It is not forced. Rather, it is felt deeply and genuinely.

My father, veteran of three wars, still visits Walter Reed doctors now and then, too. He sees the legless, armless, blind boys and girls, and my dad, veteran of three wars and, until recently, a Republican, says "Fit George Bush into a flak jacket and send him to Iraq to do the duty he never did."

These young men and women are willing to die for their country, unlike our president who, as the party-boy son of a tycoon, sneaked away from the drudgery of military life, preferring the rush of power he got campaigning for his dad's Republican buddies.

But that's the way he chose to live his life.

We citizens have the highest duty of all: to see that our soldiers' lives or the lives of innocents abroad aren't sacrificed for anybody's whim. And this was one hell of a whim, conjured up by Cheney and Rumsfeld, with the implicit disinterest of their "boss."

Unfortunately, we citizens didn't do our duty when we let this White House flim flam us into a war that wasn't necessary. Shame on us. We voted with our fear.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?