I received this letter from a friend who is serving his third term in Iraq. In honor of Veteran’s Day and with his permission, I share it with you here . . .
Amanda, This is Dean–your old UPS Man in Iraq(again) This is my third tour and I must admit I am getting a little weary of war. How are you? Hows the family? I miss you and Grant–I miss hearing your voice in the morning. I have a Veteran’s Day message I wanted to share.
The Fog of War, in America. As Veterans day approaches I have been concerned about what appears to be an identity crisis in America. The country is at war and yet the airwaves are filled with the news of enemy attacks, but these attacks are not about the war on terrorism, they are from my American brothers and sisters fighting back home, both from the left and the right and everywhere in between. It is an odd thing for a soldier to hear news of such a conflict at home. I need to know that my American family is alright and that there is some love and peace at home. When my kids fight at home it is always passionate and sometimes heated, but not like this. It seems as though discussion and debate has been turn into anger and hatred. The attacks are getting vicious and personal. The war of words is having causalities and yet the one thing that America isn’t seeing is that this really is a national FOG.
This national fog is like the battlefield fog of war with it’s same blurred lines, lack of vision, confusion, and chaos on whatever political battlefield you are taking sides with. The first fog related causality of war is the truth, without vision and clarity on the battlefield, the truth is just too hard to find. Sometimes in the heat of moment I need to separate my kids and remind them just who they are. It seems to lift the fog and remind them what really important.
On Veterans Day, I would like you to remember us out here and the battles we are fighting for you and for the freedom loving families in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have as an American family suffered much through the centuries, but we as a family have stayed together. After 9/11 we were unified and we drew strength from each other. We have, in the past, been attacked and wounded as a nation. We will probably be attacked again in the future. It is not by the fall that we are judged, but rather it is how we rise and stand together that find renewed strength. Our forefathers have fought against evil and oppression and tyranny from the very beginnings of our country. Inscribed on the Jefferson Memorial are these words ” I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man” Thomas Jefferson. Whenever we have been attacked or been momentarily beat down, we never coward to evil, but instead we have united together to defeat those the evil in our day. As long as we never accept defeat we will never be defeated. As long as we are vigilant and true and we trust in GOD we not live in fear. As long as we recognize the fog for what it is, with wisdom we will not rush to action—but first seek to clear the fog so that clarity and foresight will guild our political and military minds.
Most of all remember who we are—We are Americans, our inexhaustible love of freedom is our greatest strength. It is our most endearing quality. It is that love of freedom and desire to assure that as many in our power and resources in the world enjoy that same freedom from oppression that enjoy. We, by our very existence, invite the world to live free and be governed by the rule of law and by freely elected officials. We will always seek to free the oppressed and downtrodden. We will feed the hungry, impart aide and help to the poor and afflicted. We are the last and brightest beacon of freedom in the world—for those who suffer the indignity of tyranny, we are their last hope. From within the mind of the terrorist we are the most dangerous force in the world not because of satellites or technology, but because of the strength that true freedom gives us. We are dangerous because we are free. The long standing freedom from oppression makes us bold in battles. The strength we get from being a freedom loving people has infusion in our bones the core belief and the strength of character to “Never Accept Defeat!”
Being free makes us highly adaptive and innovative in battle, and that makes us a dangerous force in war. This war has found in many young men and women the warrior inside and the hero at home. The warrior inside is found when the enemy is at the gates. The hero never takes this honor on itself, but at home we reverence the sacrifices made by those who serve. To not be forgotten and to be appreciated by those at home makes my sacrifices for my country a sacred privilege that will remain with all the rest of the days of my life. I have learned more about “Duty, Honor, Country” at this time of war than I ever thought I would. It humbles me when people thank me for my service. The something sacred that happens when soldier and citizen meet in the spirit of thanksgiving, it is then you are reminded that true thanksgiving is found when the feeling is mutual. The gratitude that I have for the privilege it is to serve my country is lost in the frailty of mere words or slogans, and for the most part it leaves you speechless in the moment. It is times like these that I feel the greatest love for my country and the kind of pride that is really a higher form of honor. This is how I think of my American family when I am away at war. There is a fog of war in America today. Try not to lose your identity in the national fog, remember who you are. We need those who can see through the fog of war. We should move forward carefully with foresight and wisdom, only a foolish man speeds up in the fog. We are a trusting people and many have stood up and claimed to be the one who will lead the American people them through the fog and confusion and the darkness into the clear brightness of day and hope of tomorrow. We have seen these promises countless times in the American landscape, and we have survived them all.
Remain true to your beliefs and the best of how you envision America for our children, but don’t live in fear and hate. Pick your battles for that which you hold dear, but remember that we are all brother and sisters and that certain realities never change over time, namely that “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” On Veterans Day, please remember why we are here, and for the cause that we serve—the cause of freedom. We are the most powerful force for freedom on the planet, and it’s because of the American family that we hold dear. Keep the light on for us, we’ll be home soon. Remember the words of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, “As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free…” We are proud to be your American Soldiers.
God Bless America. MAJ DEAN ANGELBUER CAMP TAJI, IRAQ