Wednesday, April 14, 2004


To visit the America I live in.

Here is a link to Andy Rooney's latest missive...I wont do him the honor of quoting him on CPT Patti's website. You can read the absurdist writings at the link.

But I will answer in part:

To question 1 regarding our doing the right thing. Says the LT
"I am proud of my soldiers and the job we are doing. I am proud of my country, and believe in the decisions of the President who asked me to be here."
To questions 2 and 3 regarding doing what we are supposed to be doing and the sensibleness of the orders, The nurse said
"I didn't talk to a single soldier that didn't know why we were there and think we should be," said Palmer. "Good things are being done in that country. We are helping them get back on their feet, and they do appreciate what we are doing."
To question 4 regarding a medal or a trip home, which is like asking if you'd like one shoe or would you rather have the pair, the Specialist replied
If I said that I wasn't happy to be goIng back to Germany, seeing my family when they fly over to see me, then continuing to take 30 days leave and having this HUGE house party that my mom planned for me, I would most definently be lying. I have missed my friends and my family more then anything in the world since I have been over here, and I am ecstatic to see them, no doubt.

However, knowing that I am leaving behind fellow soldiers really takes a toll on me too. So many of my friends and the people I have considered my family for the last year are still over there. These people who I have taken care of, had their backs, like they had mine, for the last 365 days--are still out there. It hurts me, and in a way I feel like I abandoned them.

So as much as I'm happy to be able to be safe, these people will be on my mind every minute of everyday, until they, too, are home safely.
And to question 5, regarding the encouragement by folks who support the soldiers, several soldiers respond in letters to the Lutz Patriots
Hello, I'd like to start off by thanking you all for what you are doing for us. It means a lot to me and my soldiers to know that someone cares. I'll tell you a little about myself and what is going on here where I am. I am married with 2 children, and I've been in the military for 14 years. I've been a paratrooper for 14 years and stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina for 11 years. I'm a jumpmaster and the 82nd Airborne Division Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year for 2003. We are in the town of Fallujah West of Baghdad.... We will not give up hope. We will keep trying. We will defend at any price. We are part of the best division on earth... the All American Division... America's Guard of Honor... The 82nd Airborne Division ! Never Forget Us ! SFC Johnson

...I'd like to say thanks for your support. That means a lot to me. I really appreciate it....

...It is truly astounding that so many people would support what we are doing over here in Iraq. For that I cannot begin to express my thanks...

...I want to say thank you for your support to us. It is very pleasant for me to know that we got people like you that are interested in helping us thru this hard time...Well one more time THANK YOU A LOT ! And one day I will like to say thank you in person. God Bless You !...

(note: taken from an email shared with me by the Lutz Patiots, quoting letters written to them thanking them for their support)
Oh...and CPT Will answers question 5, while also addressing the issue of being a "Hero". Recall that CPT Will was wounded by a mortar round, had skin graft surgery on his leg, and returned to Baghdad. CPT Will says (see November 10th entry)
Want to thank everyone for their messages of support. They have really helped me keep a positive attitude and continue to heal. Although I am not comfortable in being called a Hero it is great to see support for soldiers. Don't think it is to heroic to be discussing issues with my supply sergeant and then having a mortar round explode next to me. It is by the Grace of God that I can walk and have all of my body parts.
Do any of these soldiers sound like victims, Mr. Rooney? They don't to me. They are Soldiers, proud of their service.

Mr. Rooney, you chose to cite one statistic...suicides among our forces. Sir, may I invite you to look for other statistics? How about these for instance
The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) celebrated America's 227th birthday in grand style the Fourth at the division headquarters, located at the palace overlooking the banks of the Tigris River.

The Independence Day festivities culminated in a mass reenlistment ceremony, where 158 Screaming Eagles stepped forward, raised right hands in front of their fellow soldiers and swore to continue defending the Constitution of the United Sates.
You cite Mr. Rooney another statistic...that 40 percent of our soldiers are in the Guard and Reserve which they joined for money and never expected to be called up. To that, again, a young first-term soldier wrote to the Lutz Patriots
I originally joined the Army so that I could pay for college. That way I could work on my writing skills and reach at least one of my goals by publishing at least one book. My true goal is to become a graphics designer. I guess I'm here in Iraq because ... well I was told I had to go. Either way though I'm proud to be here trying to help out the Iraqi people
It appears you underestimate the American Soldier, Mr. Rooney. It appears you assign to them the status of victim where they do not consider themselves such.

You impugn ribbons and medals, when you miss the point that those are testaments of a job well done, one to be proud of. You call them tricks, Mr. Rooney. And in so doing you insult every Soldier who strives every day to do his job and to do it well...a slap in the face for achieving excellence. Medals are symbols of accomplishment Mr. Rooney. A sign to the Soldier and the world that says "Look...I strive to do the right and best thing, because they are the right and best thing...not because I seek wealth." In the America I live in Mr. Rooney, that's a pretty admirable thing.

And it would seem Mr. Rooney that in your world an oath, such as is taken upon enlistment, means very little. Well, sir, to Soldiers...including the Guardsmen and Reservists, an oath still represents "my word". And in the America we live in, Mr. Rooney...our word is our bond.

Drop by, Mr. Rooney...drop by to visit the America I live in. From here you can see the youth of America who aren't perforated and doing drugs, From here you can see husbands, wives and parents who still cover their heart with their hand when the National Anthem plays...and whose eyes mist over at the same time.

And from here, Mr. Rooney...if we stand high enough atop the bluff...from here you can see straight back to Fort McHenry, Valley Forge, clear to Bunker Hill.

And that noise, Mr. Rooney...that noise you hear...why that is the echo of the shot heard round the world.

We hear that everyday in the America I live in.

You know what Mr. Rooney...I've never ever heard of someone who did something heroic lay claim to the title of hero. Like CPT Will, they tend to say, "I was just doing my job" or, "anyone in my place would have done the same thing". No, Mr. would seem that hero is in the eye of the beholder.

I consider our soldiers, including my wife to be heroes for what they've done on behalf of the American and Iraqi people. I consider them heroes, Mr. Rooney, not for being where we sent them as you put it...but for what they've done while they are there. In the America I live in, Mr. Rooney, lots of folks consider them heroes.

Why can't you?

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