MAIL BECOMES PARAMOUNT |
October 12, 2006
When you’re in Iraq, mail becomes paramount.
No longer do you grab the stuff in your mailbox with the monotony that consumes after years and years of junk mail and coupons you’ll never use. The walk to the mailbox is not a mechanical part of your day anymore. No more is your mail a constant trickle of companies reminding you that you owe them money. Mail becomes a miniature Christmas, a small token or package or gift from a magical land far away that now seems kind of fuzzy in your memory, like Santa and his reindeer through the glass of a child’s globe which has just been shaken and presents you with a snowy winter-scape. A quickening of the spirit occurs when you receive a letter or package from your friends and family back in the United States. It must be how one would feel receiving a message in a bottle after being shipwrecked on an island for years. This simile may be a stretch, but you get my drift.
Whether you are a true patriot, and you bleed red, white, and blue, or you are simply here because duty came knocking at your door, and you have some honor and some pride in what you do, it feels really good to receive thoughts and prayers from all of you back home.
You may be cooking one of us some home-made brownies this morning in a snug little town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, as you sip your Colombian coffee and enjoy watching the fog rise up off the slopes through your window, thinking about your son or daughter who is deployed in the Middle East.
You may send a photo of yourself snowboarding at The Canyons in Park City, Utah, and write “I missed you on the lift tonight,” or some other inside joke in black marker right across the mountainous scene in the background to your friend in Iraq.
You may be retired. You may be a veteran, or a veteran of a foreign war. You may have been sitting in your living room just today writing a letter of appreciation on your favorite stationary and licking the seal and sending it to one of your grandchildren over here.
You may be a guy in Detroit who recently sent one of my Sergeants some new boots and a carton of smokes. He signed up on operationac.com to "sponsor" a soldier deployed overseas.
You may be a child, writing a letter in first period to a soldier from your hometown. We love the flags that you draw us in crayon or magic marker, coloring so carefully inside the lines. And we enjoy the intelligent letters you send us, wondering what it is like over here and if we are scared.
Whoever you are, and regardless of your political interests, or your feelings about the military or war or violence or our Commander in Chief, or Iraq, or Muslims, or the current stock market trends, we appreciate your support. Regardless of your favorite color, your skin color, the type of car you drive, your age, the college you went to, your lack of education, or your bad attitude towards teenagers and video games, we still thank you.
Because we are you. We are the American people, temporarily displaced for a spell in the Middle East. We exemplify virtually every race, class, profession, and opinion that you do over there across the pond. We’re just fighting right now, that’s all. We've been pulled away from “normal” life to serve our country as millions have done for America in past conflicts. Some of us believe in the political machines that nudge entire nations into war, and some of us just believe in ourselves and each other and doing the duty we raised our hand and swore to do.