A post on Iraq may sound life an odd post for a blog on Finding the Jesus Way, but it is where we find ourselves in the world in which we live. In just a few months (July) my son is schedule to deploy to Iraq as part of the 82nd Airborne, 4th Brigade Combat Team. He specifically serves in the 4-73 Cavalry Recon Unit as a Fire Support Specialist. Today’s announcement by President Obama has direct implications for him. There is a good chance he will not be going to Iraq, but will be redirected to Afghanistan where he has already served 15 long months as a young soldier. He will also be sent as a “Stop Loss” soldier which means his time for getting out will come and go by the time he deploys, but the military reserves the right to require him to go. This may also change under President Obama. At this point I would anticipate if this happens he will still volunteer to go. It seems that he has another deployment in him.
Recently I received a package in the mail. It was from someone who heard me talking about my son on the radio. It was from a fellow follower of Jesus who felt compelled to exercise his hard fought religious freedom by helping me understand the ills of war. I tossed it in the waste basket since I didn’t see anything that I hadn’t struggled through for myself other then the language he used that referred to the military as satanic and other selected terms.
I am very thankful that the war in Iraq is coming to an end. I am also grateful for the soldiers like my son who have laid it on the line. Far too many of them have given their lives. President Obama was correct in saying that in a time where so much of our economy has been driven by men and women who have demonstrated some of the worst behavior, our military has exercised some of the best and most sacrificing. I am proud as a father to have s son I consider nothing less then a hero.
I still remember the day we stood at Ground Zero and wept for what our world had become. I also remember the day he told me he had enlisted and felt that it was his duty. All I could say was, “I would rather die for something then to live for nothing.”
As a young man he has had to endure far to much so I can enjoy American Idol, shopping in our mails, traveling on jets, the freedom of democracy, etc. He has been stuck by an IED (improvised explosive device), taken a direct hit from a rocket, and spent Christmas Eve in a firefight. These are just a few of his highlights.
His ambitions are few. He doesn’t want to make lots of money or be a high flying CEO, he simply wants to be normal again and live a normal life like the one most of us live.
He wears a uniform that is far to decorated for a soldier with so little time in. The day he received his combat badge his senior enlisted officer of twenty years received his. He wears the army achievement, army commendation, NATO, Afghanistan Campaign medals just to name a few. His unit is among the best. They wear the Presidential Unit ribbon. His unit is Airborne. They jump from planes at 800 feet and they are prepared to deploy anywhere in the world within 72 hours to protect our freedom. He spends weeks on missions without a place to sleep, shower, use the bathroom, or cook a meal.
He is my name sake and I am a proud dad. I salute him and the men and women who have and will lay it on the line for our religious freedom.
I am so grateful that we are now beginning to bring our troops home from Iraq. It is an answered prayer that my wife and I have prayed so often.