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Ponder Points

A Ponder Point is a significant, outstanding, or effective idea, argument or suggestion that needs to be weighed in the mind with thoroughness and care.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thanksgiving Letter From Iraq

This post is quite a bit longer than usual but I thought Lt. Col. Elzie's letter needed to be posted for consideration without editing. This email was sent out to the parents of the Marines serving in the Eighth Engineer Support Battalion and a copy was sent to me by one of the parents. We are indeed lucky to have leaders like Dan Elzie in Iraq.

Family and friends,

Happy Thanksgiving!Contrary to what you may be hearing back there, our work out here is going well. In spite of our losses in the last month, your Marines and Sailors remain motivated and committed to the mission at hand.Today, while you have turkey, this battalion is spread throughout Western Iraq providing critical support to the nation. The greatest generation, made up of all volunteers, is out there exporting freedom and liberty to Iraq. Say what you will about why we are here…this Battalion knows that the gift of freedom and liberty requires defense and must be exported to prosper. We are not occupiers…we are continuing to support the liberation of this country; a mission given to us by the President and approved by our elected representatives. Seeing this through is critical for the security of our nation.

Much political discussion is occurring in the states. I can positively tell you it is having a negative impact on the morale of the families back home; that will eventually migrate to the morale of the warriors out here, if it is allowed to continue unabated by reason. I assure you that we are winning and succeeding. The Iraqis are taking back their country. The referendum was a success; and the general elections will be another large step towards self governance on 15 December. I get briefed every day on what is happening throughout Iraq…and it is working. While there is no big scoreboard to gauge our progress, I can tell you that if this were a football game the scoreboard would read we are up 63-3, and it is mid-way through the 3rd quarter. The only way to lose is to walk of the field and forfeit.

Fortunately, my grandfather did no such thing in WWII. Faced with much steeper odds, his generation did the right thing and stuck it out. The list of countries that have prospered since is a long one… wherever you see freedom and prosperity on the globe, they are benefactors, either directly or indirectly. You, too are benefactors from the sacrifices made from the start of American history.

My only hope is that you, the American public, get the true story of what is happening here in Iraq. Having been home for two weeks, I was very dismayed at what I saw being reported. Although I left right after a successful constitution referendum, the daily news was filled with the news of 2,000 American deaths in Iraq, with little reported in the way of success. Some perspective on those numbers:

-First and foremost, every death in Iraq is a tragedy. But, even more tragic, would be to cut and run; exactly what al Qaeda is praying for…then those deaths would be meaningless. As much as I hate to hold memorials and write letters home to the families of fallen warriors, I know for a fact that more Americans would die in the future if we leave here prematurely. Remember that on 9/11, nearly 3,000 innocent Americans died because of the radical islamofascist's view of the world and win at all costs tactics.

-On D-Day, fighting an enemy with world domination as a goal, 1,465 Americans lost their lives…in a 24 hour period.

-In the battle for Iwo Jima, the Marines trademark fight, 6,503 Marines and sailors paid the ultimate price over a 6 week struggle.

-During the same 2.5 year period, roughly 40,000 Americans were murdered…in the states.

- During the same 2.5 year period, roughly 45,000 Americans were killed by drunk driving…in the states.

-During one year alone, 2004, more Americans were murdered in Chicago, L.A. and New York combined than have been killed in action against the enemy here in Iraq since the start of our operation here.

You all have much to be thankful for today. Not the least of which are the all volunteer defenders of liberty and freedom forward deployed in harm's way that I have the distinct privilege to lead and serve with. Prosperity for all is only available with freedom and liberty. The gift of freedom and liberty comes with a price, and your Marines and sailors are out here selflessly and willingly paying it. They understand the risks and costs. They understand and believe in the mission. They extend to stay out here. They reenlist to continue the fight. They sacrifice for you, and future generations, just as our previous generations have. They are the greatest generation.

Say a prayer for them today. The freedom you enjoy is paid for with their blood and sacrifice. Pray for their families, too, for they bear freedom's heavy load. While the families don't sacrifice their blood, their tears sting and their hearts ache for their loved ones.

Thank God for the freedom you enjoy, and for providing us with this generation.

We remain Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful),

LtCol Dan ElzieCO,
8th Engineer Support Bn
"Whatever It Takes"

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