Happy Holidays to all and welcome home to those military service people that have finally returned home from Iraq.
It is so great to have you home and with my deepest gratitude THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!!!
There is no way to say in words how much your sacrifices are appreciated. I would like to bestow on you and yours all the blessings and greatest wishes for the new year and hope you will all find the success and happiness you deserve.
I know that this transition will be extremely difficult for you. Your life has been a constant vigilance, finding danger from all sides, always on your guard against treachery from those who posed as friend and ally. Even walking along the roadway brought danger and death. You could never place your trust in anyone other than your brother or sister in arms. Fear and suspicion was your constant companion.
Now, you are home, the enemy you faced over there are no longer such a prominent threat.
But your demons have followed you home.
The training can't be unlearned, you will always be vigilant. The horrors of war that you faced will always be in your mind, in your dreams as it has been for all warriors, soldiers, fighters throughout history. And the grief you feel for the loss of those friends who gave their lives and fell in battle will leave a deep and painful scar on your heart and soul.
Perhaps while you were there, as rockets burned across the night sky and you shielded yourself behind a wall, a rock, or where ever as bullets hailed like hellfire around you, something like,"I am so afraid to die, I don't want to be here. I want to go home." went through your mind and guilt assailed you for it. Those thoughts are not the thoughts or needs or wants of a coward. Those are the thoughts and needs and wants of a brave and valiant human being that put the needs of others before his own needs.
It has always been said, through time immemorial, "There is no greater love than to lay down your life for another". The true sign of a hero is not that he is not afraid, but that in spite of his fear he does what needs to be done. That, my friends, is what our US Military has done for this country and we should all, each and every American citizen should be thankful for: our military service personell from the highest ranking general to the filing clerks. They have all played a part in keeping us safe so that we could celebrate this Christmas season as we see fit. From the birth of Jesus Christ to Hanukkah to Kwanza to no religeous belief at all, we have them to thank.
You are brave. You are appriciated and you are loved!
Always remember to thank a soldier for their service. It doesn't matter why they joined, only that they did.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all!!!