07-03-2013   Leave a comment

As I mentioned in my posting yesterday I have difficulty deciding just how to celebrate this country’s Independence Day.  I could put up lots of pretty pictures of the flag and red, white, and blue things everywhere but for me that’s not what it’s all about.  Any holiday we celebrate about this country should be about one thing and one thing only.  Those servicemen and women who are in harms way and away from their loved ones for months and sometimes years.  As far as I’m concerned they and the others before them are the reason this country is still around to celebrate it’s independence.

My first collection of letters were written by fourth grade school children as a school project where each child was assigned a soldier to write to.  Many of the soldiers are actual relatives and friends of the students. Here they are as written.

Dear Uncle Mike,

I hope you’re thinking of your family. Shawn, Scotty, Brand and me and your two sisters and your mother all miss you. We all want you to come home safe from Iraq and we wish you good luck.

Your nephew John and the other three

* * *

Dear Mike Mader,

How is it there? Its finally spring. We had some nice weather. So how are you doing ? Do you like it down there? I’ve been thinking about you. So what’s your job? I am going to my friend Chelsea’s house tomorrow. I am doing spring cleaning with my friend Kayla. We’re going to listen to music. Do you miss your family?

Sincerely, Ashley

* * *

Dear Eric Olson,

I hope you know how Garth is. If you don’t he is fine. Evan is fine too. Your entire family misses you very much. my family hopes you come home safely.!

Sincerely, Shawnee

* * *

Dear Jeremy Nuggent,

I hope you are safe in Iraq. My name is Cory. I am 9 years old and my birthday is February 9th 1994. When is your birthday? By the way I have a 14 year old brother named Dan, two sisters, Angie and April. Angie is 21 and April is 24. I have a dad named Tom and a mom named Debra. I have a dog named Stormy because we got him in the ‘ 98 ice – storm. He is a golden retriever. He can do tricks like shake and roll – over. Do you have a dog? If so what kind of breed is it? Like I said before I hope you stay safe in Iraq.

Sincerely, Cory

* * *

Dear Jim Law,

I hope you have not forgot about me. Everything is fine here. How are you? Is it a cool experience going to a different country? By the way I saw your son a couple days ago he was riding his bike. If you get the chance write back. Bye.

Your friend Ray

* * *

Dear Uncle Jimmy,

Guess what, I graduated from school!

April fools, did I get you?

The snow is mostly gone and you can see the grass. Easter’s coming soon. Are you going to be here? Write me any time you can because I know how busy you are, and I’m hoping you and all the solders come home safely.

Love Kassandra

* * *

Dear Joe Fisher,

I been thinking about you. What do you do at Iraq? Can you tell me please. I really really really miss you? Please remember me! I hope you have a good Easter. I hope you hear from your family on Easter.

Sincerely, Katlyne C.

* * *

Dear Mike Mader,

I really wanted to write to you sooner, but I couldn’t because I was too busy with work and homework and the E.L.A.s. Well, what is it like down there? Is it hot or cold? Well, got to go. Just writing to say hi and hear how you’re doing. Bye.

Sincerely, Jazzmyn T.

* * *

Dear Uncle Jimmy,

I hope you are keeping yourself safe. And I just want to let you

know that I’m behind you all the way. I love you so much. But no matter what happens, I love you anyway. I’m turning 11 this year on May 9. Hope you have good luck down in Iraq. Don’t tell any of our family members, but you’re the best uncle in the whole world! I hope you have good luck this year and forever. Hope you can write back. Oh, Casey Reardon might ask you my address. You can tell him it. I love yah!

Your niece, Kailyn

* * *

Dear Uncle Mike Canty,

Your three nephews, John, Shawn, and Scott and your family all wish you good luck.

We all miss you.

We all hope you come home safe.

Your nephew, john

* * *

Hi Jim Law,

We are proud of what you are doing for our country. We will miss you. I hope you will remember me. We hope you come back safe.

Your friend, Raymond

* * *

I think letter writing campaigns like this do more for troop moral than many people realize.  I know how much it would have helped my morale back in the day.  Our next example of that family love and connection is this short poem from one serviceman sent to his young son.

My Little Smart Trooper

by Roger J. Robicheau

From a Military Dad

I’m so proud you’re my little smart trooper

You’re the best there is, you’re just super

How I wish I could stay home with you

I’ll sure miss all the things that we do


You will be in my thought night and day

Be real brave for your soldier away

I’ll ask God to be real close to you

And I want you to pray to Him too


Tell your friends I have gone to defend

So the freedom we have will not end

That’s my job as a soldier you see

I’m so proud I can help us stay free


Now there’s one thing I want you to do

When I come back home to see you

Have a big hug just waiting for me

Cause together again we will be

(Dedicated to Little Davey)

* * *

The following two letters are heartbreaking but need to be read by as many people as possible.  These letters were written home by soldiers who were later killed in action.  They bring home to me everything we need to know and understand about just how important the work of the military is and what a huge sacrifice they make to allow us to celebrate these holidays.

* * *

Excerpts of letters from Army Capt. Joshua T. Byers, 29, of Anderson, S.C., who was killed on July 23 when a bomb detonated under his vehicle.

Thursday, June 5

Dear Mom and Dad,

A couple of days ago, my squadron commander told me that I would be taking command of Fox Troop in June, after all. . . . SWEET! I left my conversation with him walking on air! Not only will I soon be a cavalry troop commander (the most lethal combination of fire power that a captain can be in command of, in any service), BUT I will have the opportunity and the incredible responsibility of commanding in combat. I have to admit that I am really nervous and just pray that I am up to the task out here to lead 120 men in combat operations. I will give them everything I have to give — I love them already, just because they’re mine. I pray, with all my heart, that I will be able to take every single one of them home safe when we finish our mission here.

Friday, June 20

It seems like I’ve been here for so much longer than I have. My life away from here seems so far away. In some ways, I don’t think I’ll ever have it back completely. I think war takes certain things from you, or maybe it gives certain things that change your perspective.

I love being in command. It’s so great to lead again. I love taking care of my men and accomplishing our missions together here. I am blessed.

Thursday, July 3

In the past two nights we’ve been attacked each night while on patrol. No casualties for us. . . . I see more bravery in a day here than I had seen in my entire life prior to this.

I’m healthy and doing fine — although I really want to get that redeployment order and come home (as everyone does) — I don’t dwell on it. We are accomplishing our mission here and I think I’ll take a lot of pride in that for the rest of my life. Although the sacrifice is great, the rewards of service are so much greater.

Friday, July 18

Life here continues to be challenging, but we’re all hanging in there. We got a blow to our morale a few days ago when the corps commander visited us (three-star general). He said there was no way we were going home in less than nine to 12 months. Man, that’s going to suck. We’re working on month No. 4 right now and it already seems like we’ve been here forever and a day.

I still love being a commander. I love leading troops and taking care of them. It is a huge responsibility and I feel the weight of it every day. I send the thing I love most out here — my men — into harm’s way every day and every night. I just do my best to ensure they’re ready, trained, equipped and properly led in every situation.

Monday, July 21

We conducted a huge operation in the desert about a week ago. We had intel that suggested that the bad guys were hiding weapons and ammo out in the desert and bringing it into the city to attack us. We swept all of the desert north of us and found lots of weapons/ ammo. . . . Two of the targets that we captured turned out to be first cousins of Saddam Hussein.

I love you both with all of my heart! I’m working very hard here — adding honor to our country and to our family name!



* * * 

Excerpt of an e-mail message to his wife, Theresa, from Army Master Sgt. Kevin N. Morehead, 33, of Little Rock, Ark., who was killed Sept. 12 during a raid on enemy forces. The message was sent July 7.

Hey Baby,

I do enjoy planning for the future. It gives me a lot of hope to be able to plan for our success. Sometimes I think that maybe I wouldn’t come up with these plans if I wasn’t deployed. Being here focuses my attention on home and I have time to come up with lots of avenues for us. It has been one blessing for me being here. I think if we can get the things done that I have come up with we will be able to have a prosperous life ahead of us. I don’t want you to worry about how we are going to make it after I get out. . . . I want us to be able to enjoy our life and do things that we want to do.

I think after we get these bills settled and get on track this winter with the property and the house, next spring I am going to get us another boat. We had a lot of fun when we had a boat. I remember when me, you and Jesse used to go to the lake and camping. Those were really fun times. I would eventually like to get a camper or an R.V., too. . . . I know how you like to have a nice place to stay. If we got a nice camper, then it would almost be like staying in a hotel room with A.C. and a private shower and a queen size bed.

I love you very much. I can’t wait to get on with our lives. I really look forward to our future together.


* * *

So thanks to these two men and all of the other men and women currently serving around the world.  I hope they all are able to properly celebrate this holiday and eventually return home safely. Without their service and sacrifice we would have no country to celebrate.

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