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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Letter that will Leave You Open-Mouthed

Received this via email - it may take you several reads to get through it, because you may not be able to see through the water in your eyes.

Letter to my wife:

Dear Dawn,

A friend of mine went to visit you last week. I met this friend when I first arrived here in Iraq. I am a soldier, as you know, fighting to free this country from a horrible regime. I have seen many terrible things in my short time here. Many people are homeless and poor. They live in fear and poverty, struggling for a better way of life. My friend was starving and thirsty when I first saw him. His wife and family had been killed by the Iraq army and he was forced out of his home. Our meeting was by chance. I was on a patrol and had to stop my vehicle at a checkpoint; it was there I first saw him. He was on the side of the road searching for food and water; I gave him both. He followed me to our base camp where we talked, laughed, ate and drank together. He visited me every day for over a month. During those many visits we talked. I told him about the United States and about North Carolina, where we live. He never said very much during our conversations, he just listened in awe as I spoke.

I talked to him about you. I told him how beautiful you are and I gave him your picture. I told him the story of how we met and how you light up my life. I told him of our time together with the military in Germany. My friend told me he had been there. He said he loves German food and drink, he misses the sunny days in the park and how he loves the open market places most of all. We talked about many things. We chatted about tragic things, like the war in his country and the suffering of it's people due to the iron fist regime that prevailed for so long. We talked about wonderful things, like being alive, enjoying freedom and my love for you.

During this time, of warm weather and daily visits, my friend grew ever more curious about the United States, about North Carolina, and about the wonderful lady I always spoke of (you, of course). He mentioned visiting you and I told him he should do it. I told him he was free now and the United States would welcome him. We talked for several days about the trip before he decided to do it. I asked him to say hello to you when he arrived. His trip was long. It started here in Baghdad, he flew to Syria first then he boarded a ship in the Atlantic Ocean. The boat ride took three weeks and he found himself in New York. He said he had been there many years ago and had flown around the twin towers. He felt terrible for the families of those who lost loved ones on September 11th. He made a promise to himself to never forget how wonderful freedom was, nor forget about soldiers like me who are defending that freedom.

His next flight took him south along the coastline. He was amazed at the beauty there. During his two stops he relaxed and watched the sun reflect off the ocean. My friend never had a chance to write me, nor call. I was briefed about his journey from friends he had meet along his way. Friends who told me how he spent the night in Virginia after watching the sunrise. His next flight took him to North Carolina. He arrived at your doorstop last week and looked for you. He had your picture and my description of you. I told him to look for the wonderful woman who always made people smile. To search for the one who made others, besides me, happy to be around her. I told him to listen for the wonderful music that is your laughter.

At our doorstep, my friend tried to get your attention. I guess you were not home. He did say hi to our cat and asked the cat to pass the message of my hello and my love for you. My friend said that sometime during his trip he met a lady. I have been told that he is very happy and even if it is true that she can never replace his lost wife, she is wonderful to him. My friend will try to visit you again soon. He has moved into the neighborhood behind our apartment complex. I have been told that he can hear that annoying dog barking all the time and that he has seen you on our porch in the afternoons, sitting alone in our favorite chair while you read my letters. When you finally see my friend, tell him I am doing fine. Tell him that I have received all of his messages and updates (thus this letter). My friend tells me that he sings to you everyday. He said "If it wasn't for the big cat, I'd fly right up to the back door to say hello."

Dawn, please put this letter down and go search for my friend. Look out the back door. You'll find him singing in his nest with his new wife sitting on freshly hatched eggs. He is still resting his wings from the very long trip. He promised me that he would sing hello to you every day. He promised to tell all the other birds in town about his trip, about us, and about my love for you. So now you know; every bird in town is talking about us, and one of them is fulfilling his promise to give you a simple message from me: I love you.

When you hear my friend sing to you, please tell him I said hello.

Your husband, Michael S-------
(U.S. Army)


UPDATE: Check out the comments section; we were honored by a visit from Dawn - Michael's wife.
Pfc. Justin Fuller, from the 6th Cavalry Regiment and Pvt. Kristopher Derby, from the 159th Aviation Brigade, work on the fuel lines of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. The helicopter will be used to assist earthquake victims in Pakistan. Photo by Staff Sgt. Reynaldo Ramon.

Blogwatch

ROFASix - has a disturbing post that's a must-read. The hug-a-terrorist, baby-a-detainee philosophy may have some very real consequences in the field.

Echo9er - has an update on the WWII airman whose remains were recently discovered in California.

BlackFive - has the skinny on how Amy Grant's reality show is going to help out the 3/25th Marines

Our friendly neighborhood MilitarySpouse has some great info on Military family resources. While you're there, check out her post on the ACLU's latest troop trash talk.

Greyhawk - has the story of some Iraqi women who have decided they've had enough of the insurgents.

Michael Yon - has another outstanding dispatch - Purple Fingers

The Partamian Report - has the story of one tough ranger

And, though not a blog, this is still worth a read. Allan Wall, a deployed hero who wrote an article I posted about a while ago, has a new one over at Front Page Magazine: Supporting Your Troops.

(A note to the bloggers in this post - Trackback doesn't like me today, so I wasn't able to get some of them to work)
RETURN TO BASE — Two U.S. Army AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopters, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, Fort Campbell Ky., return from another combat mission to Forward Operating Base Speicher, Iraq, Oct. 22, 2005, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway

In Today's News - Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Quote of the Day
"Courage is being scared to death...
and saddling up anyway."
-- John Wayne

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
U.S. Deaths in Iraq Hit 2,000
A Personal Look at Some Who Died in Iraq
AP video: Risks continue for U.S. forces in Iraq, says Bush

Operation Enduring Freedom
Afghan Police Killed; Bomb Cache Found
Afghan Police Complete Course

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Cookie Closes Calif. Airport
Threats Close L.A. Airports

Politics
Sources: Cheney Told Libby Leaked CIA Agent's Name
Video: Indictments Today?
CIA leak investigators hold last-minute interviews

Supreme Court
Miers' opposition escalating

Hurricane Season
Wilma's waves jump seawall, flooding Havana
Katrina taught FEMA lessons used for Wilma
At least 10 killed as Alpha sweeps through Caribbean
Hurricane-scarred Florida cleans up again
Wilma still causing airport woes in Florida, elsewhere
Storm kills 10 on Hispaniola
Over 200 Katrina deaths focus of Louisiana probe
Louisiana landlords again free to evict

Pakistan Earthquake
Officials: More Funds for Quake Relief
U.S. MASH Unit Rolls into Pakistani City
Pakistan Probes Quake Zone Volcano Fears
After the quake, Kashmiri family keeps grip on old ways
US aid reaches quake-damaged Pakistan city

U.N. Scandals
Senator: U.K. Lawmaker Lied About Oil-for-Food Scandal
Video: Paper Trail
Data: Senate Report (pdf)

News from My Neck of the Woods
Winds Whips Northeast
(picked the right time to go to Hawaii, eh?)

Oddities
Court enforces letter of the law
Call to mom seals robbery suspect's fate

Other News of Note
U.S. drops nuclear 'bunker-buster' plans

Fox News
U.S., France, Britain Draft U.N. Resolution on Syria
Officials: Asian Poultry Farms First Line of Defense
Bird Flu Detected in Germany
Consumer Confidence Falls
MLB to Astros: Open the Roof
Report Shows Decades of Sex Abuse in Ireland's Catholic Churches
Bird Flu Detected in Germany
Bird Flu Sickens 2,100 Geese in China
N.J.: Sex Offenders Have Halloween Curfew
New York Giants Owner Wellington Mara Dies
Syria Stands Alone on U.N. Report
'Canned Hunts' Under Fire in S. Africa
Nearly 60 Whales Die in Australia Beaching

Reuters: Top News
Rice puts pressure on Israel over border crossings
Bird flu spreads as 4th victim dies in Indonesia
Israeli warplanes and artillery pound Gaza area
Bush tells Republicans he'll get tough on spending
Lisbon's 1755 earthquake a warning for today

AP World News
Mexico Urges Nations to Share Flu Drugs
Nigerian Leader Orders Probe of Jet Crash
Islamic Jihad Leader Buried Amid Violence
EU Court Sides With Greece in Feta Fight
Russian Says He Killed Man Over Jet Crash
Rice Says Israel Should Open Its Borders
Panel Backs Women on Japanese Throne
Italian Faces Pre-War Intelligence Probe
Mighty Waves From Wilma Transform Havana
AP: Judge Says Pinochet Will Not Be Tried

The Seattle Times
Civil-rights icon "stood up by sitting down" on bus in 1955
Parks was inspiration, local black leaders say
Comments on Rosa Parks' passing
Photo gallery: Rosa Parks, 1913-2005
How Fed choice affects the average American
Bush's choice wins praise from Wall St., politicians
A primer on the Federal Reserve System
Scowcroft critical of Bush, Cheney
Rice cautions Syria on U.N. report
Federal judge rules confession is admissible despite torture claim
Red tide poisoning Gulf of Mexico beaches
Wind-farm plans take root in Texas
Wal-Mart battles critics for consumers' hearts
Toxic smog takes toll in China, experts say
Anti-tax crusader guilty on 13 counts

Chicago Sun-Times
World Series news
Court allows O'Hare construction to resume
Remains may be those of missing ISU woman
Getty Museum accused again
Upscale shopping in Shakespeare's day

Boston Globe: World
Syria protest of US said to fall short
Security Council endorses start of Kosovo talks
Rumsfeld tour shows shift of US allies, foes
Officials stress bird flu prevention
Poland's Kaczynski calls US important ally

Military.com
Military Mobilized Again
New Air Force Academy Head Vows Safety

CENTCOM: News Release
MORE HELICOPTERS ENROUTE TO PAKISTAN
TERRORIST STRONGHOLD RAIDED
U.S. SOLDIERS FIND, DESTROY ROADSIDE BOMBS

Department of Defense
Bush: Terrorism Poses Danger to All — Story Remarks Video
Bush: No Distinction Between Terrorists, Supporters
Troops Rely on Families' Support, President Says
Iraqi Voters Say 'Yes' to New Constitution — Story
Officials Provide More Details of Bombing — Story
Chairman: Information Vital in Terror War — Story

ON THE GROUND
Army's Top Sergeant Advises Afghan NCOs — Story
Iraqi, U.S. Soldiers Aid Terrorist Attack Victims — Story
Iraqi Army Troops Raid Bomb-Making Factory — Story
Exercise Begins Iraqi Air Force Unit's Move — Story

IN IRAQ
Task Force Recon Team Scouts for Insurgents
Commentary: Last Night I Met a Hero

IN AFGHANISTAN
Paratroopers Adapt, Afghan Mission Succeeds Photos

IN THE PERSIAN GULF
USS Theodore Roosevelt Aircraft Destroy IED Facility

FACE OF DEFENSE
Mother, Son Share Army Experiences in Iraq — Story

AMERICA SUPPORTS YOU
Bank Offers Hotline for Troops — Story

TOP NEWS
SPECIAL REPORTS

Hurricane Coverage
Iraq Transition of Power

IRAQ
Referendum Seen As a Success
Bombs, Rockets Explode in Baghdad
Iraq Reconstruction
Maps
Iraq Daily Update
Multinational Force Iraq
Eye on Iraq Update (pdf)
Iraq Progress Fact Sheet (pdf)
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

AFGHANISTAN
Afghanistan Daily Update
Maps

WAR ON TERRORISM
Rice: Syria Report 'Troubling'
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

MILITARY NEWS
Rumsfeld Trip: Horse, Gift Exchange
Visits With Troops Impact Outlook
National Guard, Reserve Update

CASUALTIES
Officials Identify Army Casualties — Story

Weather
Iraq
Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Afghanistan
Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar

Gitmo

National Hurricane Center

Today in History
1774 - The first Continental Congress adjourns in Philadelphia.
1825 - The Erie Canal (between the Hudson River and Lake Erie) is opened.
1863 - The Worldwide Red Cross is organized in Geneva.
1868 - White terrorists kill several Blacks in St. Bernard Parish, LA.
1881 - Shootout at the OK corral (Tombstone, AZ).
1905 - The first Soviet (workers' council) is formed in St. Petersburg, Russia; the Union of Sweden and Norway ends.
1921 - Solomon Porter Hood is named minister to Liberia.
1941 - U.S. savings bonds go on sale.
1942 - The USS Hornet (CV-8, a Yorktown-class aircraft carrier), is sunk in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands.
1955 - Ngo Dinh Diem proclaims Vietnam a republic, with himself as president.
1956 - The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency statute is approved.
1966 - The first Pacific communications satellite is launched (Intelsat-2).
1967 - The Shah of Iran crowns himself.
1968 - Soyuz-3 is launched.
1970 - The "Doonesbury" comic strip debuts.
1972 - Guided tours of Alcatraz (by the U.S. Park Service) begin; Henry Kissinger declares "Peace is at hand" in Vietnam.
1975 - Anwar Sadat becomes the first Egyptian president to officially visit the U.S.
1976 - Transkei gains independence (not recognized outside of South Africa); Trinidad and Tobago becomes a republic.
1987 - The head of the Salvadoran Human Rights Commission is assassinated by death squads.
1988 - A U.S.-Soviet effort frees two grey whales from the frozen Arctic in Barrow, AK.

Birthdays
1855
- Charles Post, breakfast cereal magnate
1873 - Thorvald Stauning, Denmark, PM (1924-26, 1929-42)
1879 - Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary (president of the first Soviet)
1894 - John S. Knight, publisher (Knight-Ridder)
1916 - François Mitterand, president of France (1981-1995)
1917 - Felix the Cat, cartoon character
1919 - Edward W. Brooke, first Black Senator in over 80 yrs (MA); Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Aryamehr, Shah of Iran (1941-79)
1947 - Hilary Rodham Clinton, First Lady (1993-2001) / U.S. Senator (NY)
1962 - Cary Elwes, actor (Glory, Princess Bride)

Passings
0901 - King Alfred the Great
1868 - B.F. Randolph, SC state senator, assassinated
1909 - Prince Ito of Japan, assassinated by a Korean
1979 - Park Chung-hee, South Korean President, assassinated
1990 - William Paley, CEO (CBS)

Reported Missing in Action
1966
Morrison, Glenn Raymond, Jr., USAF (IA); F100D shot down

1967
Daniels, Verlyne W., USN (KS); A4E shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Captain - alive as of 1998
*** Also served in Korea ***

McCain, John S., USN (VA); A4E shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Captain - now U.S. Senator

Rice, Charles D., USN (NY); F8E shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - alive and well as of 1998

1969
Bynum, Neil S., USAF (OK); F4D shot down (w/Warren)

Warren, Gary D., USAF (IA); F4D shot down (w/Bynum)

1971
Eveland, Mickey E., US Army (CA); CH47B shot down (crewchief), KIA, body not recovered

Finger, Sanford Ira, US Army (NY); CH47B shot down (passenger), KIA, body not recovered

Green, Thomas F., US Army (CA); CH47B shot down (gunner), KIA, body not recovered

Lautzenheizer, Michael, US Army (IN); CH47B shot down (flight engineer), KIA, body not recovered

Nickol, Robert A., US Army (PA); CH47B shot down (passenger), KIA, body not recovered

Trudeau, Albert R., US Army (WI); CH47B shot down (pilot), KIA, body not recovered

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