This will be last entry into the Blog 365 Days. I have picked today as kind of a symbolic day. 21 years ago today I was an intelligence officer sitting in an Ops center in Berlin Germany as reports filtered in that people were crossing the border into West Berlin. Unbelievably it was true and my team and I monitored the situation through out the night responding to every situation to ensure the safety of the East German populace. That was my time in the sun if you will, I received accolades for the work done that night. It all seems so small compared to what Zach has endured over the last year, and what we as a family have endured. I am so thankful that Zach made it through with no physical harm, now comes the work to reintegrate him mentally into society.
My heart is heavy for the loss that so many suffered, for the men and women in Zach’s unit who lost friends and saw such incredible devastation. War is not pretty it is not a game, but it is a struggle for all involved – soldiers and families! But we as a nation should be proud that men and women are willing to answer the call, stand to post and say “not on my watch, not today, sleep well America because I am at the ready”! Duty, honor and country are not just words but part of the creed of what it is to be a soldier, marine, airman or seaman, a way of life that they accepted and signed up for. Thank you to all of them and thank you to you Zach! You are our little boy even today, even as you speak of the horror of war, you are our little boy, the boy who collected leeches in the pond, the boy running the base paths during a little league game and the little boy who went to pee in the closet as we remodeled our home.
So yes 21 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall Zach was actually born after the fall of the wall that marked the end of soviet and communist rule over eastern Europe, I will conclude my writing in the blog. Our son has returned from defending others against oppression, from trying to make the world a safer place. On this anniversary of the fall of the wall, and in celebration of Zach’s return with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team let us say thank you to all service men and women, let us not forget that freedom is not free and too often it is paid for in blood. May we never loose sight of that and commit ourselves to preserving freedom, and that we may be the masters of our own destiny, and that being an individual is worth preserving worth defending and worth fighting for if necessary.
We owe a debt of gratitude to all our military personnel. I am truly thankful for the fact my son has safely left Afghanistan, thankful that he can now start the next chapter of his life. I am also saddened for those whose sons will not return, who have had deal with that heartache. For many warriors the greatest tribute they can pay to their fallen brothers is to live their life and do the most they can with it. “For he who sheds his blood with me today shall be my brother” – live on brothers live on!
"All gave some, some gave all!" As I write this I have just learned of a 20 year old young man who was killed yesterday. He was in the 101st Airborne graduated from Carrabec High School (not far from here) had a wife and was expecting his first child!
“And when he goes to Heaven
To St. Peter he’ll tell:
Another Marine reporting, sir,
I’ve served my time in hell”
Grave of a Marine on Guadalcanal
“And I can't call in sick on Mondays when the weekend's been too strong,
I just work straight through the holidays,
And sometimes all night long.
You can bet that I stand ready when the wolf growls at the door,
Hey, I'm solid, hey I'm steady, hey I'm true down to the core,
And I will always do my duty, no matter what the price,
I've counted up the cost, I know the sacrifice,
Oh, and I don't want to die for you,
But if dying's asked of me,
I'll bear that cross with an honor,
'Cause freedom don't come free.
I'm an American Soldier, an American,
Beside my Brothers and my Sisters I will proudly take a stand.
When liberty's in jeopardy I'll always do what's right.
I'm out here on the front lines, sleep in peace tonight.
I'm an American Soldier.”
From the song American Soldier by Toby Keith
You are superman, I love you Zach, Welcome back! Soon it will be welcome home!