I was doing some letter writing on my computer and listening to the TV news (FOX). As time went on, I noticed more and more the negative tone of some people condemning the actions of the President and the sending of troops to Iraq. Not only was the tone negative, but the language became ever so belligerent. Hour after hour, political pundits talked about how thousands and thousands of US soldiers would come home in body bags. They talked about how tough the Iraqi Army is so tough and that they are so willing to die for Saddam. They followed that up by Saddam will most likely used Chemical and Biological weapons on His people and US forces/allies. All in all it was so negative. Now as an ex-US Army Signal Corp Officer I know it is best to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Still, it is one thing to have a conversation like this at a water cooler with coworkers or family. It is another when the people speaking out are our Hollywood movie stars, singers, athletes and politicians. In other words, someone with visibility. For you see, while we have the right to Free Speech, does that always mean we need to speak? What happened to discretion and manners? What I am saying is our enemies hear this news as well, it can and often does embolden them. Often, an enemy uses our media's reporting, or that of a celebrity as a tool for their propaganda. This happened in this war, as Saddam's people often replayed or quoted US politicians, movie stars and so forth. Then to even see some US politicians, movie stars and such go over to Iraq, prior to the war, and being swooned by Saddam. That was sickening. All the while Saddam's men were shooting at US and British aircraft in the UN sanctioned no-fly zone. The UN Food for Oil scandal was also going on. To also know Saddam held a US Pilot from Gulf War one and apparently killed him less than a few years ago angered me. To know Saddam tried to kill the first Bush on a trip to Kuwait (that alone in my opinion justified a war). To see USA people caudle up to this ruthless, evil man was very disgusting. It speaks of their character or lack there of. Our so-called European allies were corrupt as well and did not help the situation. I thought back how the US and Britain assisted them in WWI and WWII. Where are they when we need them?
As I sat there listening for hours, my blood boiled. I looked at a picture of my deceased mother and father. My mom was from Belgium. My dad, he was drafted and sent to Europe in 1942. He met my mom in Belgium, as he and others were wounded in a freak accident. My dad lost many buddies in the War. My mom lost many friends and relatives in the war. Then it hit me. Would we have won WWII with all the negative talk we have today from media, politicians and Hollywood. I thought some more, then I thought of my dad. For you see he was in WWII, Korea, where he was MIA, in Manchuria for 3 weeks, he stepped in a Bear Trap in Inchon, got Malaria in Korea, and later was called back into service for Vietnam. He was a 28-year enlisted man, retiring in late 1968 as a Master Sgt. I recall as a kid, in 1967 him coming home for Christmas. We picked him up at the Philadelphia airport. A lot was going on for this (me) 9 year old to understand. For sure, I did not understand why the guy with the long hair spit on my dad and called him ugly names. Some police took him away. Then in 1968, as he came to the airport in Harrisburg, PA, a young lady spit on him and called him names. In both cases he was in uniform. I could not understand why these two did this to my dad. What did he do to them? At this point I looked forward to now, our time. Here we have our USA forces over in a hostile land, bringing some peace and stability to an area that has only known war for 30 years. We removed a bad guy who killed hundreds of thousands of people. This bad guy used biological weapons on his people and neighbors. Saddam also harbored known terrorists on the Interpol list. We believe some of the bad Chemical / Biological weapons went to Syria, we did not find much in Iraq. Still is that a bad thing? We did not want him to have any. The whole world said he had some. Even Saddam admitted he had some. With all the rhetoric going around, it can be confusing. But one thing is for sure. We need to support our Troops. No matter what political party you are in, we need to support our troops. We should watch our words, to make sure they do not embolden our enemies. For you see, I thought of that parent(s), wife, husband who lost a loved one. How can some of these pundits live with themselves when they say this war was for nothing. I would like those people to go up to that person and tell them to their face that their love one died for nothing. I had flashbacks of being a child and seeing my dad go through like things. Then I thought we need not relive the Vietnam War all over again....and thus I put words to paper and wrote Weeping American.
This poem was also used for a Memorial Service in honor of SOF Sgt Chapman (from Texas) who died in Afghanistan and was cited by his commander during a memorial plaque dedication to his family at Ft Lewis, WA.
I hope one enjoys reading it and reflects on the blood, hardships and tasks ahead that so many do for us, and often we do so little for them.