Response to James48 (Original post)
Thu May 9, 2013, 11:58 PM
davidthegnome (2,490 posts)
23. You remind me of another military man I know.
He's quite a bit younger than you, but he and I went to school together. I remember, some years after he came home from Iraq (having served previously in Afghanistan) - I asked him why he did it. He told me that he'd done it so that guys like me wouldn't have to. At the time, I wasn't sure if it was self serving bull shit or if that really was his reason. Now that I know him a little better - the man he has become, I believe him fully.
One night we stayed up late drinking, and ended up having to crash at my sister's apartment. We weren't really drunk, but neither were we going to drive for a while. Under the influence, I had a bit more nerve than usual and started asking him about some of the horror stories I had heard of Iraq, the terrible things that were often posted here or even spoken of on television. He didn't bother to deny them, or tell me that this stuff didn't happen. He said that, instead, he focused on the good things that were done there - and for all the evil, there was good as well.
He told me of getting books, toys, candy... little things for children who had nothing. Of helping to deliver the simple necessities of food and water to families that desperately needed it. He mentioned several kids by name, that he had come to know in his time there, almost as if they were his own children, or at least a part of his family.
I have a deep, heartfelt respect and gratitude for men like you and my friend. I will not say I respect all military, for that would be an outrageous lie. I respect decent men and women who wear the uniform with honor - who honor their titles, and their uniforms.
If my friend had never come back, I would never have had the chance to get to know him as adults. I would never have heard his stories, or had any sort of feeling that there was at least SOME humane redemption during the terror of the Iraq war. I would have been sad, but not nearly as much as if something were to happen to him today, now that I know him better.
I can only imagine the pain of losing so many friends who must have been as close to you as brothers, or as your own children. Words are not adequate...
So let me simply say thank you. Thank you for your dedicated service, for caring for these boys... my friend might have been one, I might have been one, had things been a little different in my own life.
One of the things that ties us all together as human beings sharing this often hellish planet... is that we all know we're eventually going the way of the dinosaur. I hope that, in the grand scheme of things, something of our essence (call it spirit, energy, whatever) might continue. It is stories like yours, so deep and heartfelt, that often give me hope that this is so. If this is true, then you will all meet again. If it is not, they are still with you as long as you keep the memories alive.
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Replies to this discussion thread
|Sanity Claws||May 2013||#5|
|Bernardo de La Paz||May 2013||#7|
|Arugula Latte||May 2013||#10|
|Denis 11||May 2013||#14|
You remind me of another military man I know.
|Half-Century Man||May 2013||#25|
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