Take nothing we have for granted.
I'd like to share with my readers, a letter written in the tradition of a soldier in wartime, writing to his sweetheart back home. It comes courtesy of Michael Medved. Mr. Medved did not source the letter; and Google has come up empty. So I transcribed it myself, from his radio broadcast. I get choked up everytime I listen to it; the same way my eyes can sometimes water when I look at the American flag for too long.
Dear Angela,Joseph E. Santoni (I am doubtful that I have this right; but from listening, it's the closest I could make out; if anyone knows better, please let me know) is one of the 58,000 names on the Wall in Washington. He died less than a year after writing these words.
This is by far the most difficult letter I shall ever write; what makes it so difficult is that you'll be reading it in the unhappy event of my death. You've already learned of my death. I hope the news was broken to you gently. God, Angie, I didn't want to die. I had so much to live for; you were my main reason for living. You're a jewel; a treasure. Please don't hate the war because it has taken me. I'm glad and proud that America has found me equal to the task of defending it. Vietnam isn't a far off country in a remote corner of the world. It is Sagamore, Brooklyn, Honolulu, or any other part of the world where there are Americans. Vietnam is a test of the American spirit. I hope I have helped in a little way to pass the test. The press, the television screen, the magazines are filled with the images of young men burning their draft cards to demonstrate their courage. Their rejection is of the ancient law that a male fights to protect his own people in his own land. Does it take courage to flaunt the authorities and burn a draft card? Ask the men at Dak To, Con Thien, or Hill 875: they'll tell you how much courage it takes.
Most people never think of their freedom; they never think much about breathing either, or blood circulating, except when these functions are checked by a doctor. Freedom like breathing and circulating blood is part of our being. Why must people take their freedom for granted? Why can't they support the men, who are trying to protect their lifeblood- Freedom?
WE MUST DO the job that God set down for us. It's up to every American to fight for the freedom we hold so dear. We must instruct the young in the ways of these great United States; we mustn't let them take these freedoms for granted.
I want you to go on to live a full, rich, productive life, Angie. I want you to share your love with someone. You may meet another man and bring up a family. Please bring up your children to be proud Americans. Don't worry about me, Honey; God must have a special place for soldiers. I've died as I've always hoped, protecting what I do hold so dear to my heart.
We will meet again in the future. We will. I'll be waiting for you that day. I'll be watching over you Angie; and if it's possible to help you in some way, I will. Feel some relief with the knowledge that you've filled my short life with more happiness than most men know in a lifetime.
The inevitable? Well, the last one: I love you with all my heart; and all my love for you will survive into eternity.
You can listen to the letter in Part II of Michael Medved's "The 3 Big Lies about the Vietnam Battle". Part I is here. Please take the time this weekend to listen to it. Download it. Burn it to CD. Listen to it in the car. Vietnam and the Iraq battle are two different wars; but there is still much relevance of yesterday's war to the one we fight today.
Important now, as it was then, to shed some light:
The Press at War
Myths and facts on who is volunteering
Who are the Recruits?
Midnight Blue has the moving letter of Army Capt. Jeffrey P. Toczylowski, killed in action in the current war.
When I think of those in military uniform, I think of heroes. Men and women brave enough to serve in order to protect our way of life, our liberties, our beliefs, our friends and families. Our fellow countrymen. With all our various differences- too numerous to name, we do share a thing in common: and that is, we are united as Americans. As Michael Medved might say, proud citizens of this, the greatest nation on God's, green earth.
Curt's detective work seems to have uncovered the correct name of the author if this letter: Joseph Santori. Thank you, Curt!
In addition, I ran a Google search and found this about him:
Joseph Santori was born March 22, 1947 and lived in Keyport, NJ. He served in the US Army where he attained the rank of Sergeant (SGT).Michael Medved says he's a New Yorker; but everything I find on Joseph Santori lists him as being from New Jersey. So likely it's him; just not with a 100% certainty.
On April 23,1968 Santori was killed in action. He was 19 years old.
Cross-posted at Flopping Aces