Friday, May 27, 2011
Pre-Memorial Day Thoughts
I realize that Memorial Day is not about our living service members, but is a day for remembering those who died in service to our country. This column, however, by a former Marine who served in Iraq, captures the heart of many of the men and women who volunteered to put their lives on the line to fight those who would destroy us if they could. He writes a thank you to Islamic extremists:
As I write this, I can't help but think how ironic it was that your attacks on September 11th took place during my economics class. Further reason I am so compelled to write you now. I watched the second plane crash into the World Trade Center live from my school's computer lab, as well as the ensuing chaos and massive loss of innocent life. Little did I know, your attacks proved to be the foundation to save my guilty soul...
With my grades in the gutter and graduation approaching I had planned to stick to the standard script of an American youth at that time. I was going to go to college. Now I know I said my grades were in the gutter, and they were, but in this great country even the worst student with a high school diploma or G.E.D. is given the opportunity to better himself through attending a community college. I told my parents that was what I was going to do, and that if I was unsuccessful at community college then I would join the Marines. It did not work out exactly to plan. Over that summer, my best friend died in a senseless car accident, no doubt attributed to the irresponsible behaviors we were practicing. This was a wake-up call not only to me, but also to those who today are my best friends. I was not going to waste my time nor my family's money on community college when I now knew I needed to change my life and do so immediately. And thanks to you, my country needed me, it needed my brothers, and it got us.
I would end up serving three tours of duty totaling 19 months and 21 days in Iraq. I witnessed firsthand an uneducated, close-minded, poor populace led by a twisted ideology, and realized just how lucky I was to be born in the great nation of America.
Thank you, Islamic extremists, for opening my eyes.
You have declared us your greatest enemy, but you are not ours. In fact, you are an unworthy adversary. America's greatest enemy is itself. America's greatest enemy is the complacency that we tend to have because we have it so good here. But you woke this sleeping giant on 9/11 and reinvigorated generations of Americans to answer the call in any and every way they could. Thanks to you, an increased percentage of my generation has voluntarily served in the greatest military to ever exist. Meanwhile in your countries, young boys are forced to fight, impressed into service after being snatched from their villages. The young women whom you [would] deny education and personal freedoms through Islamic Sharia law throughout most of the Middle East continue to serve America honorably and excellently throughout the ranks of our military.
And there is still more I would like to thank you for, Islamic extremists. You cannot break the will of this country, or that of its people, and while you won't stop trying, you will only succeed in making us stronger. With every sand-lot plot of yours we foil, every amateur video you shoot with our thrown-away camcorders spouting your anti-American propaganda, millions of Americans are taking it personally, and doing something about it. You have given us something to fight for together. You've taken selfish, lazy youth like me and turned them into great Americans, great people who are physically and mentally equipped to deal with anything you throw at us. With the constant threat of your cowardly attacks the people of my country are ever diligent to protect each other and the morals that bind us together. Without you and your actions in the past, present, and future, I promise you our focus would not be so clear as we set our sights on you.
I thank you for showing me your disgusting, degenerate, and devolutionary hate for us. It has made me realize how beautiful, gratifying, and important is love for thy fellow man. Everything you stand for is wicked, and everything you fight against is true. The very principles you dedicate every waking hour to destroy are made 1,000 times stronger for each attempted pass you make at them. Your closed-mindedness has opened the minds of all mankind, and long after you are gone, dwelling in my God's basement for eternity, good men such as I will prosper. Through your weakness, you have made The United States of America stronger, and I will be forever thankful.
-Andrew Kirkland, Sergeant, United States Marine Corps, October 2003 - October 2007
These are just excerpts. Be sure to read the whole thing.