Friday, November 10, 2006

Veterans Day

Everything we have in this country, we owe to the brave men and women who have lived- and who have sometimes died- wearing the proud uniform of the U.S. military. Our prosperity is made possible, because they stand in the way of those who would do us harm.

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,

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.

Your Joey
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.

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?

Also blogging:

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).

On April 23,1968 Santori was killed in action. He was 19 years old.
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.

Cross-posted at Flopping Aces

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Blogger Gayle said...

Wonderful post, Wordsmith. Thank you for that. The soldier who wrote that letter not only was brave, he had enough forsight to write that beautiful letter in the event that he didn't make it out. He shows what real men are made of. Kerry isn't worthy of licking his boots!

Saturday, November 11, 2006 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

Hiya word..the greatest and most blessed nation on earth..hands down..ty for the lovely post!

Saturday, November 11, 2006 3:38:00 PM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

I'm worn out from handling the political beat this week. I'm glad you covered Veterans Day.

Saturday, November 11, 2006 7:34:00 PM  
Blogger The Angry American said...

Thanks to all those who served,and those died. Good Post Wordsmith

Saturday, November 11, 2006 8:10:00 PM  
Blogger RoxieAmerica said...

Excellent Wordsmith. This instant press response to war is problematic. If we had the instant feedback and blow by blow calls for changes in course, then the battle of Midway would have called off and lost - here is why:

The land based fighters at Midway Island were wiped out in the first wave of Japanese aircraft. The first wave of bombers to reach one of four Japanese carriers all ended up in the ocean. The second wave from the US carriers met an almost identical fate.

In the instant reporting, there would have calls to get out, to save the carriers, and the men. Yet, the navy persisted, and before the battle ended all four Japense carriers were destroyed, and the battle of Midway marked the turning point in the navy portion of the war.

Can't you see the calls for investigations - why did the first bombing group arrive without fighter cover and end up in the sea? Why was the Yorktown devestitated? Why was the Yorktown permitted to go to sea when it was not yet repaired from its previous damages.

What legislators who try to be defense leaders from the safety of their Washington offices, and what reporters do is attempt to require perfection -- war is anything but perfect. Mistakes are made. Sometimes the other side makes gains and our side suffers losses.

When it war, it is time to fight the war. Discussion of how the war was fought can be argued by the MILITARY people during the war, and by government leaders in CLOSED sessions. Historians and the public at large can chime in AFTER the war has ended.

Saturday, November 11, 2006 8:11:00 PM  
Blogger RoxieAmerica said...

Holy buckets, I carried away and wrote way to much.

Saturday, November 11, 2006 8:12:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Thanks Gayle and AA.

Angel, I always love Michael Medved's phrase, "this, the greatest nation on God's green earth". I don't see it as arrogant. I think it's inspiring and beautiful when a person expresses love of country. It is optimistically beautiful to believe in the best in yourself and your country. wrote a tremendous post. And I know you've been blogging heavily, leading up to last Tuesday.

Roxie, great comment! I'm glad there are people like you who "get it".

I certainly hope there are people taking time out to download the Michael Medved audio. Not that it expresses anything you might not already know about; it's just that Medved is so good at packaging and delivering it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006 9:14:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

When it war, it is time to fight the war. Discussion of how the war was fought can be argued by the MILITARY people during the war, and by government leaders in CLOSED sessions. Historians and the public at large can chime in AFTER the war has ended.

It seems this is the price we are suffering in an information age; and where people have lost their sense of wisdom in putting limitations on freedom of speech. There's a reason why we don't yell "fire" in a public place; or speak vulgarity in front of little kids, or allow porn on the airwaves, Saturday morning. Even though there are those who are continually trying to push the envelope, thinking if it isn't "anything goes", their freedom of speech and freedom of expression is somehow being trampled on. In the case of what is decent, we haven't lost our sense of judgment of what is acceptable. In the case of journalism, I think many have lost their sense of judgment in what is appropriate disclosure for the public to know about; and also in being American first, and not broadcasting information simply because you can. It's like they want to be absolved of any responsibility for any harm that is a direct result of what they reported on.

The average citizen who is not a sheepdog, does not have the stomach to be traumatized by image after image of the brutality that is war. Certainly, the gravity of war must be known and felt; so as never to be taken lightly. But of what good is it to demoralize the general public, who are not warriors? You broadcast the horrors that warriors see everyday to the non-warriors in society, and the latter are ready to throw in the towel...thereby losing sight of what we are trying to gain, in the longterm, by fighting a war. It's certainly not to prolong agony and incur more losses without purpose and meaning. Peace doesn't just magically happen because we choose not to fight. Peace happens when you win wars.

Saturday, November 11, 2006 9:34:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Holy garbage pails, I carried away and wrote way to much. (^_~)

Saturday, November 11, 2006 9:35:00 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Wonderful, wonderful post!! I especially loved this line:

"I've died as I've always hoped, protecting what I do hold so dear to my heart."

And to that I say Amen!!! I'll be linking to this.

Saturday, November 11, 2006 11:14:00 PM  

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