Onward Christian soldiers
Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight,” Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis of the U.S. Marine Corps said in a panel discussion in San Diego. “It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up front with you, I like brawling.”
That admission, from a “fighting general” who led combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq—including the Battle of Fallujah—caused an uproar. How terrible! How insensitive! The mentality that gave us Abu Ghraib! He must be disciplined! He should be thrown out of the military!
But if we are going to fight a war, we need to understand what war entails. The public supports our troops, but mainly by feeling sorry for them and their familes. We also should appreciate our troops’ facility in fulfilling their purpose, namely, killing the enemy.
There is a pleasure in battle. Yes, there is fear and desperation, but there is also excitement, exhilaration, and a fierce joy that go along with combat. At least that is the testimony of veterans and accounts of war that go back as far as the Iliad. “It is well that war is so terrible,” said Robert E. Lee at Fredericksburg, “lest we should grow too fond of it.”
The “fun” of combat is what non-warrior types pursue vicariously through entertainment. The competition of sports, violent TV shows, first-person-shooter video games, and a big percentage of Hollywood movies tap into the primal love of war.
Ironically, Lt. Gen. Mattis himself is the subject of an upcoming movie, No True Glory: The Battle for Fallujah. Playing Lt. Gen. Mattis is Harrison Ford. Mr. Ford is an action star who in the movies entertains millions by shooting people and blowing them up. In real life, though, Mr. Ford joined other actors in a public protest of the war in Iraq. Perhaps the movie’s producers will change the script to have Mr. Ford play a fictional character instead, now that Lt. Gen. Mattis has become so controversial. The makers of violent movies may find him too violent.
Lt. Gen. Mattis’s love of fighting, though, is very different from the recreational violence of our entertainment industry. His violence has a moral context. “You go into Afghanistan,” he said, “you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”
The commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Mike Hagee, said that he had “counseled” Lt. Gen. Mattis that “he should have chosen his words more carefully.” While Lt. Gen. Mattis may not be a poster boy for compassion toward Afghans, Gen. Hagee nonetheless refused to discipline him, saying that his commitment “helps to provide us the fortitude to take the lives of those who oppress others or threaten this nation’s security.”
But what about from a Christian point of view? Should a Christian soldier take pleasure in killing people?
Luther wrote a booklet titled Whether a Soldier Too Can Be Saved, taking up the issue of whether a Christian, who is supposed to love his enemies, should join the military, where he has the duty of killing them. According to Romans 13, Luther argued, God has appointed earthly rulers to restrain sin and has given them the authority to “bear the sword.” The soldier, acting under a lawful chain of command under the authority of the state, therefore has a legitimate calling from God, who Himself acts through human vocations. Luther says the soldier should look at it this way: “It is not I that smite, stab, and slay, but God and my prince, for my hand and my body are now their servants.”
The Christian soldier, living out his faith in his vocation, loves and serves his neighbors by defending and protecting them. Yes, soldiers can abuse their license to kill. Luther goes so far as to say that soldiers should refuse to fight in wars that are clearly evil. But those who have the Christian vocation of being a soldier may fight “in good conscience.” Before God soldiers should be humble and repentant. But before the enemy, they should “smite them with a confident and untroubled spirit.” Soldiers, Luther says, should go “forward with joy!” As in other vocations, so in the military, there is nothing wrong with enjoying one’s work. —•
You can go to worldmag.com for more wonderful articles on related subjects.
And so, even though I feel as if I have been rambling on and repeating myself, I hope I have made my point clearly.
These came from the annual “Dark and Stormy Night”competition.
Actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays:
He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topekaat 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.
John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
He fell for her like his heart was a mobinformant and she was the East River.
Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so loing, it had rusted shut.
Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
The plan was simple, like a Cape Breton coalminer. But unlike the Caper, this plan just might work.
The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphoricallame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
*The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at afire hydrant.
It was a Canadian tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.
-*this one really got me! Ha! Hope I got you to smile. 🙂
Joey Bozik crosses his one arm over his body, rifles his backpack for his pillbox. He flips the compartment with his thumb, throws back his head and pops the morphine pill into his mouth.
His wife does not reach to help him.
She stands behind his wheelchair, ruffling his buzz cut. The silver ring on her left hand, gleaming like a chrome bumper, is identical to the one on his left. The rings are six weeks old, but he can wear his only now, just before Valentine’s Day, because the swelling has gone down on his remaining fingers.
They are in their temporary home in Washington, D.C., a room on the grounds of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. They are smiling.
“I’ll tell you this much,” said Bozik, one of the Iraq war’s three triple amputees. “I’ve never been happier in my whole life.”
Joey Bozik was a soldier from Wilmington.
Jayme Peters was a student from Tyler, Texas.
When Joey was in Afghanistan in 2003, he got to know an officer who would come to the post he guarded. One day, the officer said, I know this girl named Jayme. You two would hit it off.
So Joey e-mailed her a note, a photo. She wrote back.
She asked questions. The first was, When did you learn to ride a bicycle? They wrote every day.
Months later, he came back to Fort Bragg and rode with a buddy to College Station, Texas, where Jayme was going to school and living with her mom. They rode through the night — 21 hours, 1,200 miles.
He arrived earlier than he had said he would, 5 a.m. instead of lunchtime. He had arranged with Jayme’s mother to surprise her and take the pressure off their meeting.
Her mother showed him to Jayme’s room. She was sleeping.
She was dreaming of a shadow crossing her room, a tall man. She couldn’t see his face. She said, “Joey? Is that you?”
She patted the bed and he sat. She kept her cheek on the pillow to hide a blemish, a pimple. But, she decided, if he was going to be with her, he’d have to take her as she was.
“I said, ‘You know what? I’m not looking my best.’ I showed him my face and he said, ‘You look beautiful anyway.’ ”
He planned to stay a week, but it was two before he returned to Fort Bragg. They stole time over the months, a weekend here and there.
He shipped out again last March, this time to Iraq. He was in the desert, in a tent with nine guys, the military police officers he led. He wrote when he could get to a computer.
She wrote every day. Sometimes it was like writing a journal to herself. She made him a book, and the first line was, “When Joey met Jayme, he woke her from her sleep.”
They found they liked the same things. “The Cosby Show.” Dogs. Dial Liquid Soap — Mountain Fresh scent. (“Do you know how many kinds of soap there are in the world?” he said.)
On Oct. 27, his life changed. As did hers.
He was riding through the desert south of Baghdad when his Humvee rolled over a bomb. His buddies were OK. But Joey lost his right leg above the knee. His left leg, at the knee. His right arm, at the elbow.
They sent him to Germany, to the hospital. Then, they sent him home.
He woke up in the amputee ward at Walter Reed. Jayme was there.
He hurt where his arm and legs used to be. His foot hurt so badly he thought it was broken. He doesn’t remember it, but Jayme does. She stayed most nights in the hospital room.
He could not feed himself, go to the bathroom, turn a page.
Family came. Friends. His mother, Gail, packed three outfits and stayed three months. She cared for him as he became a child all over again, learning to crawl, to sit, to eat.
One day, he sent them all out, all but Jayme.
They had talked about what would happen if he got blown up. Now, it had happened.
He wanted her to understand that there were things he would never be able to do. Run on the beach. Carry her. Dance.
He said he did not want her to stay because she felt sorry for him. He told her she was free to go, that he loved her and he always would.
She was quiet. She said, as long as you have your head and your heart, that’s all I need.
They married New Year’s Eve in the hospital chapel.
People donated a cake, a limo, a suite at the Four Seasons Hotel with couches and champagne and a bathroom made of marble.
They went back to the hospital. Jayme started decorating their new home, a room at the Mologne House on the grounds.
She bought a canvas wardrobe for her sweaters and shoes. She got a feather mattress top for the bed. It was too soft for Joey but just right for her. He said OK.
His mother went back to Hampstead in Pender County, and Joey and Jayme were on their own.
They settled in to a routine. Up at 5 a.m. for her, 6:30 for him. She pulled the shades every morning to see whether it had snowed. It hardly ever did in Texas.
He found he could not be in a room with her without touching her.
She has a job now, an internship as an exercise physiologist at the National Naval Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Md. It is her last requirement for graduation from Texas A&M University.
He has a job, too, of sorts. Physical therapy, to build his strength and prepare for prosthetic legs. Occupational therapy, to learn to use a wheelchair, to cook one-handed, to write with his left hand. Doctors’ visits, as he prepares for surgeons to remove the metal plate that is bolstering his left wrist. And social work, to sort through the paperwork that comes with disability.
At night, they watch movies. Funny ones. Jayme has her PlayStation 2 but doesn’t play games like she used to. It’s not something they can do together.
Last weekend, they sold his truck. It was a Dodge 4×4, white, V-8, four feet off the ground. He said getting out of it was like controlled falling.
You’re good, baby, she told him, but not that good. He likes that she’s starting to tease him.
They bought a Dodge Magnum, a space-age looking cross between a car and a sport utility vehicle. Joey can slide himself in and out of it easily.
When they’re home, they lie on the bed, which doubles as a couch. She holds his arm, the stump just below the elbow.
Over dinner, they design a dream house. They talk about the jobs they want. He wants to work with the VA, helping wounded soldiers. She does, too, either in rehab or as an X-ray technician.
She turned 25 on Saturday. He is 26. He is lucky, he said, to have gotten injured after his wild days were spent. He sees 18- or 19-year-old amputees in rehab, in the dining hall. They have not had the life he had.
They do not have the girl he has.
Monday, for Valentine’s Day, he plans to give her gifts he has been hiding in a buddy’s room.
He has been keeping her out of his backpack. He has been hiding a card there for more than a week, waiting for a few minutes alone. He had to figure out what he wanted to say.
Then he wrote the message, slowly, methodically, tracing out his wishes for the future with his left hand.
– You can go to blackfive.com for more updates on Sgt. Bozik.
God bless America!
So sorry I didn’t post on this Sunday!
Oh wow. Sunday, January 30th, 2005 now marks a turning point for Iraq. We watched (on the liberal media!!!) as Iraqi men, and WOMEN, voted for the first time in decades. The phrase you would hear often on TV is that “these people were brave and risked their lives to come vote” yes it was dangerous and there was the possibility of bombings… but what had these people been living like? Murdered by their own people… oppressed and pushed into poverty… the men, forced into Saddam’s army or imprisoned and killed… the women treated as dirt and forced into darkness at the age of 13… the children, playing in the streets in rags… these same people, have now stepped out into those streets, some still in wreckage from fights, yet most cleaner and safer, as U.S. soldiers stood by protecting them… they walked out there and voted. They would come out of the voting booths proudly holding up their purple fingers, many tearfully saying that they were doing it in memory of their killed relatives who couldn’t be a part of it. This was a powerful, powerful day for those people. Some people say we are there for the oil… some say we are there for no reason… my heart wants to burst in attempt to describe to those people the profound meaning of this day… our soldiers have bled… their families have cried and our soldiers have died… yet we have NOT backed down. Dictators of Iraq have been captured. People have been freed. Women were given FREEDOM. Children were given education. Armies were trained. AND NOW THEY VOTED. Oh! That day holds so much meaning! Who wants to sing? Who wants to dance? The Iraqi people, freed yet still a little afraid of stepping out, their hearts are singing! Lord may they prosper and grow to become a free country with a strong constitution… may they grow to glorify You. We thank you and praise you for all that You are and have done through us for Iraq.
I’m sure you will join with me when I say…
God bless Iraq!
Faith Survives Death of Family
By Stacey Hamby
Rogers, his wife, Melissa, and their four young children were in their mini-van on their way home from a wedding when the unthinkable happened. A flash flood swept away the van – and everyone in it perished except Robert.”We and about seven other cars splashed into the middle of this ‘river’ in the middle of the freeway,” Robert, 38, recalled about the dark, rainy night on the Kansas Turnpike Aug. 30, 2003. They were on their way home to Liberty, Mo., from Wichita, Kan. “The water was about 1,000 feet wide, and we could see the water rising and seeping into our van.”As the water rose to the seat cushions, the children began to wake up and cry. “We did three things – first, we said the name of Jesus over and over, ‘Jesus save us,'” Robert said. “We were trapped. There was nothing we could do at this point. Our engine had stalled, and we couldn’t get out into the water – rushing at 32,000 gallons every second — carrying four children. The second thing on our lips was scripture: Psalm 46, ‘God is my strength, my refuge, an ever present help in time of trouble.’ And third, praise. That was the part that felt the most strange.”The family, who had memorized scripture together and sung praise songs around a piano every night, began to sing, “Lord, I Life Your Name on High.””I was thinking it doesn’t make sense,” he said. “But I it got the kids’ attention on music. Then I realized the words: ‘I’m so glad you came to save us.’ Honestly, I felt at peace in the van. I knew we were going to be OK, thinking the water would recede and that we hadn’t come this far for God to let something awful happen to our family.”But the water kept rising. The van was pushed up against a concrete median and the noise of the water rushing over the median was like a waterfall.Rain was pelting the van like hail. The children were screaming and crying. Melissa and Robert were trying to use their cell phone to pray with friends from their church, Northland Abundant Life Worship Center in Liberty.After only 15 minutes, water picked up the van – along with 11 concrete medians weighing about 10,000 pounds each – and sent them down the raging river.”We went into survival mode,” Robert said. “We agreed we had to kick out the window and get the family out of the van. It was like popping a balloon because it just flushed me, Melissa, and our oldest daughter, Makenah, — we weren’t in our seatbelts at the time — out of the van.”That was the last time I saw my family alive.”Rogers was plunged into pitch black, muddy water. He was flailing about under the water, drowning. “I was dying,” he said. “But I felt peaceful; I felt the presence of God. I was thinking we’re all going to heaven. It didn’t feel like the right timing to me; it felt early.”About a half-mile from the freeway, Robert’s head broke through the surface of the water. “I could see treetops passing by; I was gulping water,” he said. “I could see shore, but I couldn’t overpower the current. I can’t explain how I got over there. I just say it’s a miracle of God. I crawled out on my hands and knees. I was just crying out, ‘Oh, God, oh, God.’ I couldn’t see or hear any of my family.”He stumbled his way toward the emergency vehicle lights and told officers his family was still in the water. Hours later, in the middle of the night, he got word that his three youngest children had been found dead – still strapped in the totally destroyed, upside down van 1.5 miles from the interstate.”Part of me knew it was coming,” he said. “I sensed it in the water. I sensed we were all going to heaven. I knew in my heart they were with Jesus already. Even at that worst moment, I felt the presence of God the most I ever had. He was very real, very powerful and peaceful. But I had to surrender my entire family – like Abraham had to lay down Isaac, I had to lay down Zachary, Nicholas and Alenah all at once.”His next words, he said, could only have been from the Holy Spirit. “Literally, in the ER, I looked up and said, ‘Into your hands, I commit their spirits.’ It had to be the Holy Spirit because it was more than a mortal man could endure.”They found his oldest daughter the next morning. It was three days later before his wife’s body was found two miles away in a retention pond.In worship services Oct. 30/31 at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty, Mo., Rogers said there were no last good-byes, no last kisses. “But that was OK because I had done that earlier that day, just like I did every day.”That’s Robert’s message today – live a life of no regrets. Value faith and family. Work to live, not live to work. Surrender everything – even that which is most precious to you. And this modern-day Job not only didn’t turn his back on the God whom he had served since age 16, he also quit his job as an engineer and began “Mighty in the Land” ministry. He writes music, sings and travels to tell the story of his family.Robert Rogers said his faith in the midst of this unthinkable tragedy didn’t happen overnight. It was a lifetime of faith-building experiences, especially once he married his college sweetheart, Melissa. He and Melissa met in Boston while he was playing piano in a tourist part of town called Quincy Market. She was in Boston working as a nanny. He was from Cincinnati; she was from Hiawatha, Kan.Melissa put a tip in Robert’s tip jar, and later often said it was the best “five bucks” she ever spent. They went to get ice cream together, and thus began a storybook romance that led to a New Year’s Eve proposal on a riverboat in Cincinnati. One year later on New Year’s Eve, they married.They moved to San Jose, Calif., for his first electrical engineering job after graduating from the University of Cincinnati. Robert also played piano with their church’s praise and worship leader, Ron Kenoly. “I overcommitted myself to music my first year of marriage, to the detriment of our marriage,” Robert recalled. “Ron told me,, ‘Family is your first ministry,’ and that really stuck with me.”He trimmed his music schedule and began to focus on his family. Three years into the marriage, Melissa gave birth to Makenah – their first child and their first fiery test of faith.“Melissa, who had always wanted to be a mother, was in labor for 48 hours,” he said. “After 36 hours of labor, the midwife said we had to go for help. The baby was breech, and after 12 more hours of labor and a C-section, Makenah — at 9 pounds, 11 ounces and 22 inches long – was born. It was a big test for us, but we saw the good that came from it. She was worth it.”The couple’s second big test of faith came when Makenah was 1. Melissa and Makenah had just come home from visiting relatives, and Robert had stayed home from work to spend time with them. “Melissa collapsed on the bed, and I had to carry her down the steps to get to the hospital, and on the way she said, “I can’t see; all I can see is white.’ I thought, ‘She’s right in front of God.’”Melissa had an ectopic rupture – the result of a tubal pregnancy. They hadn’t even known she was pregnant. She had emergency surgery.“Suddenly this family that wanted lots of kids had one less tube, and that’s a big blow to a woman. It was very traumatic, especially since we only had one child and wanted more. It stretched our faith. We named our lost baby Hope. And we almost lost Melissa, so there were two brushes with death there.”A little over a year later, their son, Zachary was born. “It was a real miracle,” Rogers said of the natural delivery. “But the doctors said they believed our child had Down syndrome. We said, ‘Oh, God, no.’ We had done everything right – prayed and sang over her tummy to nourish and feed the baby with our voices and prayers.“This was a big blow to our faith because we didn’t get what we had asked for,” he said. “Suddenly, we were confronted with another death – we had to grieve the loss of the child we were expecting. We were going to have to carve out a whole new life of hospital visits, learning sign language, middle of the night trips to ER, complications – parents of special needs children understand.”Their faith stretched yet again, and they further committed to their marriage and to life as a family with a special needs child. Then, two years later, they had Nicholas. But they soon had another brush with death. The couple was in Mexico on a business trip, and while swimming in the ocean, they got caught in a riptide.“A riptide is like a river in an ocean,” he said. “I was holding her with one hand and trying to pull us back. We knew we were going to drown. She said to let her go, and I couldn’t.” A lifeguard spotted them and got them to safety. That was their fourth brush with death.Their fifth brush with death came when Melissa miscarried their preborn baby, Joy. “We named her Joy because she brought us so much joy for those few weeks.”All along the way, Rogers said, they could see God at work in their lives. “We really developed a deep faith and trust in God. It’s a choice to trust in Him and to be better – not bitter.”After the second miscarriage, they decided to adopt a daughter from China. They requested a special needs child. “God had blessed us with Zachary, and we thought we were prepared for it. There’s a waiting list of children with special needs.”They brought home Alenah in January 2003 after spending two weeks in China. She had a heart condition, and it exercised their faith to pray for her. “At the airport, Melissa vowed she would never leave her children for that long again because it just ripped her heart out.“It turns out that God honored her wish, I believe,” he said. “It was an amazing statement in light of what happened eight months later.”That summer, the six-member family spent lots of time together playing in an inflatable pool in the backyard, eating ice cream and taking it easy from the rush of kids’ activities. “It was the best summer we ever had,” Robert recalled.It also was their last. And, he has no regrets.“Not many husbands and fathers can say that,” he said. “Have no regrets with God; choose to trust Him today and have no regrets with your loved ones. Melissa and I truly cherished each other and our family. We learned to savor every moment in large part because of the special needs of our two children.”He has returned to the flood site, which now lies tranquil. “I’m still a dad,” he said. “If we truly believe what we say we believe, then my family is not dead – they are alive, well and happy with Jesus. I’m totally at peace with them. I’ve surrendered everything most precious to me. And it’s still a daily surrender, and I still cry every day in those moments when I’m alone.“I literally feel like I was resurrected, like I died in the water that night – not physically, but spiritually,” he said. “Once I’ve gone to that depth, I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that God allowed this to happen for a purpose. God wasn’t asleep; He could’ve caused us to be two minutes earlier or later or lifted up the van. We had prayed every day for our family’s protection and safety. He had saved us before. I have every reason to be bitter – we were doing our best, doing everything right, putting God first.“(The biblical character) Job chose not to sin when he lost 10 children. Job saw the face of God, and sometimes I feel like I got to touch His hand as He scooped my family up. He gave me a peace. I learned to die to myself, but I didn’t die physically, and now it’s a story of hope to say God is real, and if you trust Him, He will use whatever the circumstance for good.”Robert founded Mighty in the Land ministry to tell his story. He has been able to do that nationally via interviews on such shows as “Good Morning, America,” CNN and Focus on the Family – which is scheduled to re-air his story Jan. 26. Integrity Music has published one of the songs he wrote. The Billy Graham Association recorded his testimony to use around the world.“Around the world – it’s amazing how this story can impact so many lives. I named my ministry Mighty in the Land because Melissa and I prayed Psalm 112:2 over our children. They are mighty in the land, but I never thought it would be in this way.”Go to www.mightyintheland.com for information on Robert’s music CDs or to request a visit to your church or community group.
-I just heard this amazing story on focus on the family. I cried through the whole program and still haven’t recovered. What faith! We can clearly see God’s hand in this man’s life. Who could have the strength to live through such pain? Only those who have the grace and love of Christ in their lives.
Okay I just saw this on the same soldierlife website but I had to post it. How can we really understand how it is for our guys over there? We can’t, but we can try. Bring out the tissue…
The Price of this Fight…
A soldier slept peacefully.
His gun next to his cot.
Armor down by his feet.
Sleeping and shivering from the cold.
His mind was racing with thoughts of home.
Was he thinking about when he would see his family again?
The soldier smiled even in his sleep.
I lay there watching this buddy of mine.
Pictures of family scattered across his wall.
There was the one of his mom and dad.
And the one of his wife holding his baby.
This child had never felt his daddy’s hands before.
A protector of freedom.
I rolled over and stared at my wife.
So pretty and so happy in these pictures.
Her face could not hide the sadness in her eyes.
I told her I would be ok.
I would come home soon.
However knowing that I could die here.
She knew that this was my decision.
To get in the fight.
To prevent that feeling I had on 9/11.
The feeling of helplessness.
The feeling that I was a victim.
Never again would I allow that.
I rolled back over and gazed upon my friend.
But he was gone.
The day before had taken him from me.
I wish it were a dream.
But to my dismay it was not.
His pictures still upon his wall.
I began to cry.
The images began to look like a collage of colors.
My eyes spilled over with tears.
I knew he died a Soldier doing what he wanted to do.
To fight the fight so others won’t have to.
I closed my eyes and began to dream.
The images of darkness turned to home.
The smell of turkey and cinnamon.
The sounds of laughter from children playing.
Family all around.
For the moment I am happy.
So close to home yet so far away.
Tomorrow will begin another day.
I hope my luck will continue.
I hope I can someday hold my wife again.
Laugh with my children.
Living in peace.
Knowing that my time in this war is done.
Being content with that and moving on with life.
However this fight needs me now.
I will endure the hardship.
I will fight the fight.
By. American Soldier
I like to dance. I love to dance. I have danced ballet for two and a half years, and have taken pointe for six months. As a little girl I would twirl around and dance to any music (preferably the Nutcracker) that came on. One of the many things I appreciate in my parents is they didn’t just throw me in a ballet class when I was three just because that’s what cute little girls do; they waited until I was old enough to make my own choice and let me find out what my passion was and how I wanted to use it.
This has really strengthened my love for ballet and even though waiting may have been hard sometimes I really appreciate it now. I like the line in the song “untitled hymn” by Chris Rice where he sings “and when the love spills over, music fills the night, when you can’t contain your joy inside; dance for Jesus, dance for Jesus, dance for Jesus”. God has given me this temple, my body, and I love to be able to express myself and my love for Him with it! You may wonder why I am talking about dance all of a sudden… it snowed here and is very icy so dance class is cancelled. I had to talk to someone…
Dancing for Jesus!
By RYAN LENZ-Associated Press Writer
After coming home from a months-long tour in Iraq, Curtis Mills recalls driving his daughter to a recital and panicking when he saw a radio tower’s blinking red lights. “For a second, I almost yelled out ‘Tracers at 11 o’clock!'” Mills said sheepishly during a break from shoveling snow from his driveway in Shapleigh, Maine. “Then I realized it was just an antenna.”
For soldiers of the Army Reserve’s 94th Military Police Company, which was mobilized for a grueling 20 months, returning to cozy hometowns across New England has been a struggle with the unexpected. Everyday sounds such as backfiring cars and slammed doors send them into panicked alert. They react by scanning rooftops for snipers or scouring crowds for anything out of the ordinary. “You don’t get through a day without thinking about it. No matter what I do, there’s always something,” said Mills, a postal worker who was hospitalized for 11 months after surviving a roadside bomb that detonated beneath his Humvee near Ramadi.
The 94th bears the dubious distinction of being one of the longest-mobilized military reserve units since the Korean War, and the MPs are believed to be among the longest-deployed soldiers to Iraq, officials say. Mobilized in December 2002, about 160 soldiers were sent to Iraq four months later for a planned 365-day tour. Twice the soldiers were ready to leave when their deployment was extended; at Easter, they were hours away from boarding their flight home when the unexpected news they would stay was delivered. Richard Stegeman, 35, a cardiovascular specialist from Dayton, Maine, served as a medic for the 94th and cared for Mills when he was injured. When Stegeman returned home, he said he was distracted by cell phones, which insurgents used to detonate roadside bombs. “I still wake up sometimes thinking ‘Am I really home, or is this all a dream?'” Stegeman said. “Even though we’ve been home for four months, sometimes it doesn’t feel that I’m even here at all. “Heightened sensitivity, sleeplessness, and hair-trigger responsiveness to unexpected sounds and sights are all symptoms of combat stress, psychologists say. “When you’re in a war environment for a long period of time, that can affect you,” said Capt. Bobby Sidell, a clinical psychologist at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. “And if you’re knee-deep in it, it’s hard to kind of take that objective step back. “In the 94th’s case, the symptoms can be compounded by the length of deployment and frustration that accompanied the extensions, Sidell said. The military offers psychological services to combat veterans, but Sidell said soldiers often are unaware of their need for them when they return or get lost in the shuffle. Stephen Whittredge, a network administrator who grew up in New Hampshire but now lives in Gloucester, Mass., was in the active Army in Somalia and has dealt with the nightmares after combat and a fear of crowds before. He re-enlisted with the reserves and served for the duration of the 94th’s deployment. Even now he chooses to spend most of his time alone. He still can’t help but flinch and duck at loud noises. “I prefer to stay in my house and not do anything or see anybody,” said Whittredge, 36. “I know soldiers want to go back, but I am definitely not one of those soldiers. I don’t want to die this young. ”
-God bless our troops.
Lots of people go over their “New Year’s Resolutions” (or goals) on New Year’s Eve. And I am sure that “work out more” and “lose weight” have been on our lists more then one year. I know that for me (other then “lose weight”) the words “spend a LOT more time with the Lord” and “pray MORE” will always be on my lists of goals for the upcoming year.
But I also find that partners or some kind of encouraging guide makes getting these goals accomplished much easier. As far as prayer, I recommend the Presidential Prayer Team. You will get updates on our President and leaders in congress, what to pray for them, and you can also adopt a specific troop to pray for daily. This is a popular site and I myself have joined the millions of people praying for our Country. For more information on the Presidential Prayer Team go to Presidentialprayerteam.org.
Happy New Year’s and God bless America!