This letter is a reprint from Michael Yon on Magazine a journalist who writes to present the war through the eyes of the soldier. He does it through the blog. I was hit by this letter so I am passing it on:
10 May 2007
Volunteers of SOS,
First, I would like to apologize for not writing to you in such a long time. The MiTT team and I are still at the patrol base but I managed to receive your last package. Thank you again for all your support, thoughts and prayers. I spent 27 days straight out here and went back once for a shower and came right back here a few hours later. My total time in Iraq is 132 days (only 219 left to go). It is because of people like you that we continue to fight everyday and operate with the Iraqi Army so they can take over and we can come home. Our team has continuously worked with the Iraqi Police and Army to conduct Civilian affairs operation such as Medical assistance, repairing schools and water treatment plants, and establishing checkpoints along the roads so insurgents cannot travel through our area. Just last month we conducted 417 foot and vehicle patrols. Many good things are happening here and I do not know if the media has brought that to light on the local networks back home.
So how are you doing? I know you are all working very hard and I know it is important to stay on top of things, but it is equally important, if not more so, to spend quality time together with family and friends and enjoy the fruits of your labor. I have been through two marriages and much heartache because of the life I chose with the Marine Corps. This profession is certainly not for everyone and in six years when I retire, I will re-invest my time and energy into living life. Maybe going out on the bass boat sitting in my back yard, catching a movie with my kids or traveling around to the few places on this earth I have not yet been.
I truly believe that anyone who has not done “this” before doesn’t appreciate what it is like to live normally. If I could wake up tomorrow and go to the grocery store, I would be thrilled! To be able to have running water and cold beer; to sit in the sand and have the ocean at your feet, watching the sunset with a loved one and enjoy the touch of her skin. These things I miss most about being in Iraq. Freedom is so costly. Enjoy the simple things in life. Using your porcelain toilet instead of a plastic bag, walking in an air-conditioned building, making decisions that are your own (because you can), enjoying the beauty of God’s creatures, instead of despising them for giving your position away. Freedoms, that even I took for granted, make it all worth being here. Please remember that when you get in your car, when you pray, when you work and are paid, and when you wake up in your bed everyday.
Thank you for being a friend and supporting the team. Even the smallest remembrance from home (the USA) is more than welcome here.
Sincerely and with love,
SSgt Richard Mattice