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Rusten, I've not been here for a while. I'm so sorry for all your losses. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service and your sacrifice for our country. Today is October 6, and your last post was September 24. I'm praying for you my friend.


"Doesn't Heaven Sound Like a Beautiful Place?"

As he looks across the huge field below,
off to the right he sees a bright rainbow;

Days of rain have washed clean the air,
and fed the grass and flowers growing there.

He gazes at row upon row of granite crosses,
a constant reminder of war's tragic losses;

In perfect alignment they stand in formation,
brave soldiers who once guarded our nation;

As they rest here peacefully in this holy place,
He hangs his head at the shame and disgrace;

They gave their lives in defense a nation,
that now stands divided by political oration;

Then he reflects on that day in September,
The Twin Towers in New York a burning ember;

The Pentagon in Washington partially ablaze,
A plane crash in Pennsylvania saw panic for days;

On that day of tragedy and foreign invasion,
he reviewed his options and rose to the occasion,

All across America young men and women stood,
All took the oath because they felt they should;

He knew he didn't have to join up but he did;
He felt God spoke to him and did as He bid;

Tall and proud he told his little girls goodbye,
With hugs and kisses he left with head held high;

Promise me you'll look after my girls he said,
Tell them I love them when they go to bed;

Make sure they know Daddy didn't want to go,
But, under the circumstances I couldn't say no;

Remind them of the promise I made to them,
I'll be ok and return home but don't know when;

To say their prayers and think of me often,
He didn't know that he'd return home in a coffin;

He wasn't killed by a terrorist bullet or deed,
instead his fellow companion failed to heed;

In a moment of carelessness a man lost his life,
and a moments panic and fear caused great strife;

He looked at the names in this sacred place,
He read each one to himself and saw a face;

Not here in this field where he could never lay,
But in the house of his Father every day;

Though he did not die on any field of combat,
He did die serving his country, you can believe that;

Though he wanted to be with his girls and friends,
He would still have made that same decision again;

After a few more moments of silent reflection,
he forgave the circumstances of his situation;

As he did this he heard the heavenly choir sing,
That was when he knew he had done the right thing;

And as he rose to heaven with a flutter of wing,
I heard him sing,

*"Doesn't Heaven sound like a beautiful place?
And I'm ready for the day I see his face.
Won't be no guns.
won't be no knives.
Hear the best preaching that
you ever heard in your lives."
[*by: PO2 Michael J. Gray, killed in Kuwait, March 5,2004]


God bless you. As words escape me now, I have chosen to share!

Lieutenant K

Hey Russ,
I'm an Army LT, and I'm in Iraq as well. I'm in a very dangerous place indeed(as if there are many good ones over here). Let's just say for now I'm in the Al Anbar province. I've been here for about 120 days.
I'm a writer, and I have a blog that I've kept up since this deployment started. I've been careful about OPSEC because the part of Iraq I'm in is pretty much the worst, and I don't want someone other than myself deciding I need to stop posting because I'm putting out something the enemy can use.
I'm the Signal Officer for my BN, and we work with Marines all the time. I have a lot of respect for you guys. You contribute greatly to the colective efforts of coalition forces out here. It's amazing how joint the U.S. military has become.
I happened upon your blog, read a few posts, and just wanted to make contact. I relate not only to people like myself who have left their families to serve over here, but also those who have an appreciation for the written word-the power of pen over sword.
Check out my blog sometime - www.wordsmithatwar.blog-city.com

Thanks for your work.

Lieutenant K


I do not have the correct words to express my feelings.

I offer a prayer to whatever benevolent force that may be listening - that the rest of you come home safely and please do not the let those honorable soldiers be forgotten.

Nothing I can say will make it better or make it go away.

And all that "what doesnt kill you makes you stronger" should be saved for when you are home safely. Until that day watch your 6 - and protect the people who cannot protect themselves.
Know that we are thinking of you and hold you all in our hearts.



"Wars have always changed men,"

You have the character, you have the wisdom, you have the brains to allow this "change" to benefit your country. Take heart, you will be an even better person than you are as a result of this. Steel is tempered in fire, and is made resilient. You are being made stronger than steel by your deeds and experiences. God bless you, and my prayers for your continued safety keep on a-comin'!

Almer Hadaway, SSG, CO B 1-153IN, 39 SIB/UA

Sorry to hear about your continued losses. I hope the old sector isn't being too much trouble, as it seems to be. I am the S3 NCO of the Karradah responsible unit you replaced.
Just a note to say, "Keep up the good fight, and the end is near".
We just spent a month in New Orleans, and I found it worse than Baghdad.

Good luck, God Speed, and
Warrior03N, out.


I have now words with which to comfort you Rusten. I weep. God Bless.


Well my brother, at least your fellow Americans aren't yet spitting on you as they did on my generation of warriors. Going through what you have, and experiencing the things that you have will make you stronger in the long run, and a better man than you thought you could be. Make the difference when you come home. Thank you for your service to our great nation.


You have captured it so well, what a warrior feels when he loses a brother in arms. As I read your words tonight it took me back so many years to the realization that some things never change in any war. Your sharing those thoughts that we have all felt and compartmentalized for years... I appreciate that. Never forget what you do for your brothers is what it is all about. Those of us here, safe in our little worlds cannot appreciate enough what you do, and what you give for us. Thanks for that. We owe you.


Hey Currie....
I'm so sorry to hear about your recent losses. Words can't comfort you- at least not mine, anyway. I know you'll lean on your brothers to get through these tough times, knowing that in a few months, you'll be coming home with fewer Soldiers than you should be.


I'm sorry.


Yes, what you all are doing is indeed bigger than we can fathom. It does not lessen the pain of a lost brother, only time can dull that. But you are doing a very great thing. And your travail will save perhaps millions of lives in the future. God keep you all safe through to the end of your tour of duty.

Pam in Fresno, CA

I am so sorry Russ. Those are such empty words--but perhaps the stars in the sky tonight are really not stars at all--but rather holes in heaven, where those who have gone before us are pouring their love out and letting us know that they are alright...

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Your and yours are in our prayers. Stay safe and trust God.

Kat in GA

I am speechless, too. {{{{{{HUGS}}}}}} I'm so sorry for your losses.... To echo Suellen's comment ~ they will NEVER be forgotten. We love you all and are so grateful for your service...

You remain in our prayers, always.


I am simply speechless. Your grief has transmitted itself off the page and entered my soul. Believe me, we feel the loss of each one deeply too. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

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