Fare ye well
While the motivation of our efforts in Minyanville has always been to give something back -- not get something back -- I wanted to share a letter we recently received from a Marine Corps Sergeant stationed in Iraq. Thank you to all who donated Minyanville Tees and cookies to the cause!
May 13, 2003
Dear Mr. Harrison,
As you can see by the date on this letter, mail takes a while here. I wanted to thank you for your letter and the box of goodies. The Marines here appreciate both, as do I. Thank you so much for your prayers and your patriotism, it makes us feel very good about being Marines and Americans when we receive support from home.
On Sept. 11, 2001, I was on a training mission in Palms, CA. When we received news of the attacks, we felt a mixture of emotions but knew that it was only a matter of time before we would meet another nation on the battlefield. Our efforts became focused on ""war fighting"" and achieving brilliance in the basics.
My enlistment ended exactly three months ago but the Marine Corps extended my contract for this operation. I will never complain about putting my life on hold or leaving my family and home 12,000 miles away. I have served beside the finest men of our generation. Warriors with discretion who knew to win the strategic peace by sparing lives of Iraqis that did not need killing. By being kind and courteous to civilians and to be Marines to those who wished us harm. We fought with distinction and professionalism.
We sprinted forward under scud attacks, picked our way through minefields and maddening terrain. We crossed the rivers into the birthplace of man, endured urban combat and finally broke loose and charged 200 miles in one night to seize the city of Tikrit.
In Tikrit, Saddam's birthplace, we swept the streets, picked up trash and broken glass and removed weapons from the hospital and schools. The shops re-opened and we bought bread from the markets, vegetables from the farmers and patrolled the streets with the local cops. We won the strategic peace. Saddam's own people cheered for us, hugged us, kissed our cheeks and shared their whisky. If that is retribution for Sept. 11, then I am satisfied. We did not conquer a nation, we liberated one and unleashed a fury of rejoicing and opportunity.
I know this letter is laden with pathos but I wanted to let you know what we did... for you... for the victims of September 11 and for the people of Iraq. We are your Marine Corps, we are your Marines. We are proud to serve under your flag as guardians of western civilization.
Thank you again for your generous support of me and my Marines.
Semper Fi "Always Faithful"
Sergeant of Marines
As you power down and turn your attention to the important stuff, remember that the money we have is simply a means to an end. It'll buy a lot of things and facilitate a better lifestyle but it won't buy happiness. I can promise you one thing, my friends -- there are a lot of families out there who lost a loved one on Sept. 11 and would gladly trade your stress for theirs. It's simply a matter of perspective, and the sooner we find that balance, the quicker we'll find some smiles.
Have a peaceful weekend.
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