Thought some of you would find this interesting....today's email from Kidlet's dad. (A little long, but worth the read)
Hello everyone! How are you all? I'm doing very well actually. After last week most of the guys spirits are up. We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers we heard from many of you. Thank you from all of us.
Well tomorrow is Independence Day, and being this is my first time celebrating outside of the country. It gave me the opportunity to see things from a different perspective.
When you see people who have lived under tyranny and in some parts continue to live under tyranny, you get to see our country from the outside looking in.
You have a new appreciation for the country.
We're still a great nation despite some ugliness.
America has a lot of flaws no doubt. Those who do not see those flaws need to do as I am doing and step outside the box.
There are many who have this "love it or leave it" attitude. That's just the wrong answer. I guess they would have told that to women at the turn of the century when they fought for the right to vote. Or maybe they would have told that to the freedom riders during the civil rights movement. No. You can love it and change it. That's what our nation has been doing since its birth and its what makes us great.
She is not perfect, she will never be perfect but she is always worth fighting for. Because America at its best, is always seeking to be better.
I like being a solider.
I love the comradery and the good we do. Yeah I know there are times we have to hurt people and that part of the gig. I saw a T-shirt a fellow soldier wore, that said to the affect "good people sleep well at night cause there are men who are willing to do violence in their name"
Protecting America is always a good thing. That's why I get angry when they use us to do wrong from time to time. But that usually happens when the people stop paying attention or are punked by fear to allow it to happen. I think things are changing people are more aware but it still can happen. I pray we never let fear dictate the use of our military again. Let knowledge, logic and defense of the nation dictate how we are used again in the future.
I love what we represent. Not force or death. But hope. I know some of my friends may not agree with that. But I honestly do believe that the US Army represents hope, not just to America but to the world. When people see us they see the good guys..well that's what they used to see.
Last year I had the fortune to go to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. A visit I highly recommend everyone do, take your children but be forewarned some of the stuff is rough.
But in the museum they had video tape testimony of Holocaust survivors, and I was struck by the testimony of one of the survivors. She was talking about after the Nazis abandoned the camp, she was looking down the road that lead out of the camp and saw a jeep. At first she thought it might have been the Nazis returning, but then she saw the white star on the hood. She knew it was the Americans, and she wasn't scared any more. The good guys had arrived.
Every time I think about that I get a little choked up, cause here was this woman who had been through hell no one could ever imagine and just seeing that jeep with the white star gave her hope. It fills you with such a sense of responsibility. That you do not ever want to do anything to bring shame and dishonor to the uniform and to our nation.
And when I see and hear people speak about how this great nation of ours should condone torture for the sake of "security". Makes me sick to my stomach. They feel that the name of this great nation should be associated with such countries like Saudi Arabia, China and Iran. Where torture is standard practice. They want our nation to go into that sewer. John McCain (who was tortured) and I agree on one thing: Torture doesn't work, and its not worth the price of trashing our great nation's name.
There are lines we should never come close to much less step over. To quote a great TV-show:
We're "suppose to be the good guys. Act like it"
Protecting our nation is a charge I take so seriously. There are only 2 things in my life I would be willing to sacrifice my life for: my family and defense of the Constitution. (Well 3- my buddies here).
The Constitution is such a great document, especially the Bill of Rights. If you ever read it you are amazed that those men back then could think of something so profound. They created a Government that was run by THE PEOPLE. Never in history had that concept been tried before. The people run the country. The people are ultimately in charge. Then after they created that document they had the foresight to know it wasn't perfect and allowed it to be amended and the first 10 Amendments, the Bill of Rights is the very core of the Constitution, it is what makes us FREE.
Today, I walked into the chow hall and they had on a certain news network that shall remain nameless. After a teaser about some model is "America's secret weapon" ( I shit you not) they had on a video clip of Americans talking about freedom.
It was the typical crap I would expect from that network, I even doubted if the video testimonies were from real people. The presentation was too slick and the people just seem to be a bit rehearsed especially when one guy said "Freedom is not free". I was like... how many times have I heard that before on Talk radio.
But it got me thinking, even though the phrase "freedom is not free" is a jingoistic cliche, there is truth in it. But not like how that guy thinks. Yes, to defend real freedom there is a price. A price that is paid in blood. But there is another price that has to be paid. The price to show courage when it would be easier not to.
Ben Franklin once said "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " I think that's the price. Are you willing to give up liberty for temporary safety? I say no. But I think too many America are willing. Too many Americans say "I don't care if the Govt reads my emails or taps my phone, I HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE" but that's not the point. When you give up some liberties you make yourself less free.
Its weird, so many people, like those on that promo, talk great about freedom, but I don't think they get it. They say "freedom is saying what I want when I want" but then they bash you if you say something against the Govt. Smear you as being unpatriotic. Hell I was once called communist cause I dissed the president. And it came from some one I worked with and he wasn't joking. Trust me I fully support capitalism.
Freedom isn't being able to say great things about our nation any time we want. Shit thats easy. People in Saudi Arabia can do that. No, Freedom is being able to criticize the govt anytime you want.
People ask me - doesn't it bother you when you see people protest against the war in Iraq? I say "NOPE! Gives me a sense of pride that I live in a nation where we are allowed to do that." Think about this, our nation is so great that you can burn the flag. I know it angers many but when you really think about it, that's freedom.
So tomorrow when your at your BBQ, getting drunk and chilling, just think about freedom. I mean REALLY think about it. We live in a great nation. We really do, I can say that from the outside looking in - from Afghanistan, where in some parts women aren't even allowed to go to school. Where people are killed if they don't practice an extreme version of Islam called Wahhbism. Where if you point your feet the wrong way (facing Mecca) they will kill you. Where children younger then my 13yo daughter are forced to work, and I don't mean picking grapes. I mean working with heavy machinery.
Think about what freedom really means.
"Laws can embody standards; governments can enforce laws but the final task is not a task for government. It is a task for each and every one of us. Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted when we tolerate what we know to be wrong when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy, or too frightened when we fail to speak up and speak out we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice."-Robert F Kennedy
Love you all and happy 4th of July!!
It's never too late to have a happy childhood!