the soldier experience. It's Dads, Moms, Sons, Daughters, Relatives and Friends sharing their thoughts of a particular day and/or it could be the soldiers journal entry detailing his or hers. I believe there are many, many people keeping a journal through the Afghan War. If you want to share an entry of yours email it to firstname.lastname@example.org Your post will be strictly confidential, no names will be used. In addition, locations overseas will not be mentioned for security purposes except the country of origin. Some editing may be done to further protect the journal participant.
It's been quite a few days since I wrote down anything specifically for the journal about your deployment to Afghanistan. As I looked back, it was January 1st....far too long to go without sharing some thoughts. I'm trying to figure out why it's been so hard to write this, frankly I've been numb since you came home on leave and then went back to Afghanistan.
Maybe it's my way of thinking that the worst is past and that we are on the downward slide. Another part of me has wrestled with what this will all mean when you do come home. How will you be affected by your deployment? What has this time meant in the manner of sacrifice for you and us? How will others view your commitment?
A little over a week ago there was a situation where a wounded Iraq Vet stood up at Columbia University and voiced his opinions on the military at a town hall meeting. Anthony Maschek, a former Staff Sgt. who was shot 11 times and received the Purple Heart bravely stepped up to the mike and issued an impassioned challenge to fellow students on their perceptions of the military. "It doesn't matter how you feel about the war. It doesn't matter how you feel about fighting", said Maschek. "There are bad men out there plotting to kill you."
The response? Some students laughed. Others hissed and booed. Some called him racist. All of this directed to a young man, 28, who spent two years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington recovering from grievous wounds. In all, the former Staff Sgt. suffered two broken legs and wounds to the abdomen, arms and chest in the Kirkuk, Iraq attack.
|Anthony Maschek and fiancee Angela O'Neill|
This disgusted me. We're not living in the 1970's. This is not the Vietnam era. I can recall the treatment our military men and women received during those times. I've also heard stories from former soldiers that leave you shaking your head. Stories like a soldier returning home and upon landing on American soil, threw away his military clothing in the airport restroom. Why? Because he knew how little respect he'd get if he wore the uniform. He knew the public's disdain, where they'd just as soon spit at you as look at you.
So I wonder, where's the tolerance? Where is the respect Anthony Maschek should have been given? And would Maschek have been offered the same response if he had stood up and supported some political view or gay rights issue. If indeed Columbia University is an educational institution then they need to step up and educate here. Let's have those same students who booed, hissed or yelled insults, take to the mike and see for themselves what accountability means. Okay, I know that was a knee-jerk reaction. Perhaps the real answer lies in the Ivy League school taking the remarks of this "misguided" few for a lesson in tolerance and the freedoms we have...and guess who brought those to us.
Anthony Maschek must be a proud man. Thank God for that. His message went practically unnoticed by a group that can not see or hear particularly well. There are bad men out there plotting to kill us. If you don't know that by now, well...............
That's what I'm struggling with son. I don't question your commitment. I don't question your sacrifice. We can only hope and pray that situations like Anthony Maschek's pave the way for understanding. Understanding that as we look around us, the need for our military is growing. And along with that should be our respect and gratitude. Stay strong!!
154 days or 22 weeks to go however you look at it! Praying for your safety, son. Praying for you daily......
"Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment .-James 2:12-13