Thursday, April 27, 2006

IRAQ: FOR OUR TROOPS & THEIR FAMILIES

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Many wonder why I get so annoyed in chats and on message boards when I see others attacking our nation's leaders and soldiers. This piece sums it all up, folks. You have no idea how difficult it is to understand the events of war, unless you actually have a someone you love serving in our military, or unless you have served. God bless our troops and vets!!!! - Thane


(The following story was written by Lori Kimble, a 31 year old teacher and a proud military wife. Mrs. Kimble, a California native, currently lives in Alabama. via email from NC)

I was sitting alone in one of those loud, casual steak houses that you
find all over the country. You know the type--a bucket of peanuts on every
table, shells littering the floor, and a bunch of perky college kids
racing around with longneck beers and sizzling platters.

Taking a sip of my iced tea, I studied the crowd over the rim of my glass. My gaze lingered on a group enjoying their meal. They wore no uniform to
identify their branch of service, but they were definitely "military:" clean shaven, cropped haircut, and that "squared away" look that comes with pride.

Smiling sadly, I glanced across my table to the empty seat where my Husband usually sat. It had only been a few months since we sat in this very booth, talking about his upcoming deployment to the Middle East. That was when he made me promise to get a sitter for the kids, come back to this restaurant once a month and treat myself to a nice steak. In turn he would treasure the thought of me being here, thinking about him until he returned home.


I fingered the little flag pin I constantly wear and wondered where he was at this very moment. Was he safe and warm? Was his cold any better? Were my letters getting through to him? As I pondered these thoughts, high pitched female voices from the next booth broke into my thoughts.

"I don't know what Bush is thinking about. Invading Iraq. You'd think that man would learn from his old man's mistakes. Good lord. What an idiot! I can't believe he is even in office. You do know, he stole the election."

I cut into my steak and tried to ignore them, as they began an endless tirade running down our president. I thought about the last night I spent with my husband, as he prepared to deploy. He had just returned from getting his smallpox and anthrax shots. The image of him standing in our kitchen packing his gas mask still gives me chills.

Once again the women's voices invaded my thoughts. "It is all about oil, you know. Our soldiers will go in and rape and steal all the oil they can in the name of 'freedom'. Humm! I wonder how many innocent people they'll kill without giving it a thought? It's pure greed, you know."

My chest tightened as I stared at my wedding ring. I could still see how handsome my husband looked in his "mess dress" the day he slipped it on my finger. I wondered what he was wearing now. Probably his desert uniform, affectionately dubbed "coffee stains" with a heavy bulletproof vest over it.


"You know, we should just leave Iraq alone. I don't think they are Hiding any weapons. In fact, I bet it's all a big act just to increase the Presidents popularity. That's all it is, padding the military budget at the expense of our social security and education. And, you know what else? We're just asking for another 9-ll. I can't say when it happens again that we didn't deserve it."
Their words brought to mind the war protesters I had watched gathering outside our base. Did no one appreciate the sacrifice of brave men and women, who leave their homes and family to ensure our freedom? Do they even know what "freedom" is?

I glanced at the table where the young men were sitting, and saw their courageous faces change. They had stopped eating and looked at each other dejectedly, listening to the women talking. "Well, I, for one, think it's just deplorable to invade Iraq, and I am certainly sick of our tax dollars going to train professional baby-killers we call a military."

Professional baby-killers? I thought about what a wonderful father my husband is, and of how long it would be before he would see our children again.

That's it! Indignation rose up inside me. Normally reserved, pride in my husband gave me a brassy boldness I never realized I had. Tonight one voice will answer on behalf of our military, and let her pride in our troops be known.

Sliding out of my booth, I walked around to the adjoining booth and placed my hands flat on their table. Lowering myself to eye level with them,
smilingly said, "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation. You see, I'm sitting here trying to enjoy my dinner alone. And, do you Know why? Because my husband, whom I love with all my heart, is halfway around the world defending your right to say rotten things about him.

"Yes, you have the right to your opinion, and what you think is none of my business. However, what you say in public is something else, and I will not sit by and listen to you ridicule MY country, MY president, MY husband, and all the other fine American men and women who put their lives on the line, just so you can have the "freedom" to complain. Freedom is an expensive
commodity, ladies. Don't let your actions cheapen it."

I must have been louder that I meant to be, because the manager came over to inquire if everything was all right. "Yes, thank you," I replied. Then, turning back to the women, I said, "Enjoy the rest of your meal."

As I returned to my booth applause broke out. I was embarrassed for making a scene, and went back to my half eaten steak. The women picked up their check and scurried away.

After finishing my meal, and while waiting for my check, the manager returned with a huge apple cobbler ala mode. "Compliments of those soldiers," he said. He also smiled and said the ladies tried to pay for my dinner, but that another couple had beaten them to it. When I asked who, the manager said they had already left, but that the gentleman was a veteran, and wanted to take care of the wife of "one of our boys."

With a lump in my throat, I gratefully turned to the soldiers and thanked them for the cobbler. Grinning from ear to ear, they came over and surrounded the booth. "We just wanted to thank you, ma'am. You know we can't get into confrontations with civilians, so we appreciate what you did."

As I drove home, for the first time since my husband's deployment, I didn't feel quite so alone. My heart was filled with the warmth of the other diners who stopped by my table, to relate how they, too, were proud of my husband, and would keep him in their prayers. I knew their flags would fly a little higher the next day.

Perhaps they would look for more tangible ways to show their pride in our country, and the military who protect her. And maybe, just maybe, the two women who were railing against our country, would pause for a minute to appreciate all the freedom America offers, and the price it pays to maintain it's freedom.

As for me, I have learned that one voice CAN make a difference. Maybe the next time protesters gather outside the gates of the base where I live, I will proudly stand on the opposite side with a sign of my own. It will simply say, "Thank You!"

To those who fought for our Nation: Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Please pray for God's protection of our troops and HIS wisdom for their commanders. Pass this on to as many as you think will respond. "Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. I ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior."

When you see this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our
ground, air and navy personnel in every area of the middle east. There is nothing attached.... This can be very powerful....


Do not stop this prayer chain, please.... Of all the gifts you could give to anyone in the US Military, be it Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines or National Guard, Prayer is the very best one.....Amen!

DON'T FORGET-FREEDOM ISN'T FREE... Just ask a Soldier, a Seaman, a Marine,

or a Pilot...And when you ask them simply say Thank You!




Today's troop is tomorrow's vet.

War is not hell. There are no innocent people in hell. War is hard. Period.




3 comments:

Anonymous said...

It always makes me cringe when I hear the type of discussions posted here. If we spent more time praying for our President and our Country this would do more good than the constant murmurming. If there is anyone who does not like the way our country is run or our country let them go and live in Iraq or Iran for awhile. Bet they'd be begging to come home. Do believe that the majority of our military men love their Commander-In-Chief, President Bush, and are proud to serve their country. Sure, perhaps mistakes were made, we may never know, but I still believe there were WMD in Iraq, there was plenty of notice ahead of time to send them elsewhere. The attacks in American were stopped, don't hear many people say their thankful for that. Indeed I would like to see our men come home, and pray for this and their safety. I also say God Bless America, President Bush, our People and our Military. And God Bless all the families here that wait for their men in the military to come home. Outstanding post Thane and I do so admire the spunk of the wife who stood up and took up for her husband and the other men serving our Country. Biddy

Anonymous said...

As a former Navy wife myself, nothing upsets me more, than when people who have NEVER served this country and for which it stands, decides to belittle it, and give opinions on military matters. I am proud of my husband, who fought in the first gulf war (Dessert storm), and protected this country from jerks like those who complain constantly. Nothing gets me more upset than when someone says, they have it coming to them, because they asked to serve. My opinion on that, is that our troops are making a sacrafice for this country, even for the jerks who belittle and mock them every chance they get. I feel if you can do nothing but MOCK our country, then get the hell out. And then see how many freedoms you DO have. Until then, quit the bitching, and grow up!! They are fighting so people like those complain can sleep soundly at night.

Life's Many Wonders. said...

As a former Navy wife, nothing pisses me off more, than when people who have NEVER served this country bitch and moan about the war that is currently occuring. These same people bitch constantly do nothing, but complain about this great nation of ours, I personally dare them to leave, lets see how many freedoms they have then.

Our service men/women are fighting/dying everday, so the same people the whine about the war, can play with their kids, and sleep in their beds at night. Our men and women are over there so we don't have to be.

So please, when some of you can do nothing but complain about the war, or about this country, take a moment, stop and think, if those you are talking to may or may not have loved ones, that we hope to see again soon.