This post is dedicated to the thirteen who fell yesterday, with desperate prayers that those left behind will find some light to see by.
If you didn’t stop by Momastery yesterday, please read this first.
Dear Glennon, Victoria, and the Annandale Terrace third graders,
Thank you, very, very much for the great box of magazines, phone cards and letters! What a morale booster! As you can probably guess, this past year has taken a toll upon our great soldiers here in Baghdad, Iraq. Your kindness and generosity make a real difference and remind us that we are loved and that there is life after our tour in Iraq.
Just so you know the impact of your kindness, I want to explain what we’ve done with your gifts. Of course the magazines are always a big hit. The men especially want to thank your husband and his friends for their excellent taste in reading material! I had people knocking on my door begging for the magazines all night so I finally surrendered and put the boxes in the hallway. The letters from the third graders will be passed out to single soldiers who don’t have anyone to receive letters from. You would not believe what an incredible impact these letters have on someone who has nobody to care for them or to write to them – and we have many within the battalion. Lastly, we distributed the phone cards to those soldiers who we’ve identified as having family issues or separation issues to ensure that they are able to make it through the end of the deployment. Your kindness, quite literally, will help some of our married soldiers stay married by offering them a chance to tell their spouses they love them when they would otherwise not have the money to do so. It will help our single parents stay in touch with the children they had to leave with other families prior to deployment. It will help our young soldiers who are having a difficult time coping with the harsh realities of war, by offering them a chance to call home and talk with loved ones. In short, you may not have realized it, but you have touched many lives in a powerful way.
Please tell the other teachers at Annandale Terrace that all of you can be proud of our young American kids. Our American kids- our soldiers – have given the Iraqi people hope through their example. These young soldiers, many of whom are so young that they could have been your students a few years ago, display everything that is right about America. Their compassion, sense of fairness, and ethnic and religious tolerance are a model of what Iraq will someday be like. As the teachers who helped mold these Americans, you can and should be proud.
Lastly, on a personal note, I would like to thank all of you for thinking of us. Your letter was both an inspiration and a blessing, I have nightly meetings with all the key leaders of the battalion and I read excerpts of the letter to all of them. Two of the women who work for me started crying and then the men started misting up – which they promptly cursed the women for. Okay, so now you have the picture…a bunch of hardened veterans after a year in combat getting misty during a meeting over your letter. We were all a little shocked. Your words clearly had an impact on all of us and for that we will forever be thankful.
Thank you also for the kind words about Cathy. She is the real hero among us. From consoling the wives and children of soldiers who didn’t make it and will never return to their families, to crying with mothers who lost one of their children during our deployment, to caring for the spouses who broke under the stress of seeing their loved ones in combat, she has done it all. She is the bravest person I know and I fall in love with her again each day.
Thanks again for being there for us,
There are many Cathys at Fort Hood today, comforting the children, spouses, and friends of those who died yesterday. I bet they’ve been up all night. Let’s pray for the Cathys today.