Sunday, May 29, 2005

Memorial Day

The following is an e-mail from a mate who served in Vietnam and continues to do so--as a civilian--in Iraq.

"I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means...."
--John Adams

Good Morning from Baghdad,

I wanted to take a few minutes and tell you all that I hope you will have a Happy, Healthy and Safe Memorial Day Weekend. I realize to many Americans all that it represents is three days off from work and the herald of the summer vacation season.

Since most of you are "Warriors" (or the Family of) in you own right; and since most of you have served in the Military (or have Family that does) I would hope this weekend would be a little more. Please remember all the Troops and those "old-timers" (like me & my mates) who support them here (and in Afghanistan, the Korean DMZ) and hundreds of other places around the world & who are in "Harm's Way" this week end.

The operational tempo here is incredibly high as we have on-going or are opening new major anti-insurgency operations (that have been posted in the press in the last few days). For all of us it will be business as usual; there will be no picnics or parades.

The Marines & Soldiers out in western Iraq (Anbar Province) & many here in Baghdad and the northern Camps live and work in very Spartan conditions. For them a clean place to sleep,clean uniforms, a piece of ice or cold drink, hot meal, hot cup of coffee in the morning is often a fantasy. They live in conditions every bit as tough as the Vietnam era Fire Support Bases & Special Forces "A-Camps". Also for some of them this weekend will be their last. They don't whine or complain they drive on.

Please remember all who have gone before them since our great Nation's Birth and the sacrifices they have made (many gave "The Last Full Measure of Devotion"). Without them (the kids of today and those fallen before them) you would not have this weekend. Remember too all those with broken bodies and spirits from all of these outings; many who languish in Military Medical Centers (like Walter Reed Army Medical Center or Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Washington, D.C.) or Veterans Administration Domiciles across the US. Many who have no Families or "nobody wants" anymore. It is because of all of them; you and I have the job opportunities, nice houses, cars, or freedom to worship (or not if you choose) that we do.

This includes the Freedom of the Press- I often hear a lot of bad stuff about the Press Corps; but I have seen many honest Journalists and their "Shooters" (Camera-Men and Women like Sharon & Maya & others I have come to know.). More of them have been killed or badly wounded in the twenty-six months of this conflict than during the fifteen plus years of the US War in Vietnam/SE Asia. For our Democracy to work someone has to get our Government to remain honest and accountable to those they serve. Please remember that there are many good ones who are driven to get out the truth.

Many of them report the issues they are not responsible for what the issues may be. I can't help but think our Founding Fathers were smart enough to figure all of this out when they wrote our great Constitution and Bill of Rights. It's certainly not perfect but it is still working and is still one of the greatest documents ever drafted by human minds & hands. If we are such a bad place to live then I would suggest you come here and get one of these $5-$10/day jobs digging ditches, handling garbage or raw sewage with your bare hands while they are still available. If we are such a bad place then why do most of the poor of the world want that miraculous little "Green Card"? Why do they want to come to our shores?

For me personally; it's always a long weekend- because I have been blessed to live a life and have walked in the shadows of some truly great men; I have had the honor to have known and worked with six of the Special Forces & Infantry Medal of Honor Recipients. I have been blessed to live all my today's because many of my friends and absent comrades gave up all their tomorrow's. For many of you who have been there and done that I am sure you understand- and share the guilt I feel. I know that none of them would want that; but still that it how it is.

Please take care of yourselves; my best to you and your Families. Please don't forget to take a few minutes of silent reflection tomorrow at 15:00. Please pray to the God or Higher Power of your choice and belief system for all the Fallen; and remember that "Freedom Is Not Free".

De Oppresso Liber,

Doc Rakofsky Sends-

PS: This is a hyperlink I have sent to most of you before... It came my way thanks to SGM (Ret) Tony Bell an old SF Friend/Brother whose Dad was also SGM Bell of the US Army's SF; who I had the good fortune to have known in Nam and during his days as a Police Officer after retirement. I think it's well done, very moving and worth a re-visit this Memorial Day. It may give you an insight into the level of toil & sacrifice here by Our Troops... God Bless & Keep You All.

Click on the title to this post to follow the hyperlink that Doc sent.