Somebody sent this to me. I thought it was great.

Dave M.

I live in the United States of AmericaŠthe best country on the face of the

Earth. There is none better. We can vote. We decide our own fate. We

have the opportunity to make as much or as little of ourselves as possible.

There is unlimited potential for Americans. We have the freedom to make

choices every single day of our lives‹choices that are denied so many in

other countries. You decide who to date, who to marry. You have the

freedom to travel, to express your opinion, to have a job, to not have a

job, to have children, to be educated to the highest level you wish. We as

Americans are not forced to join military service, not forced to speak one

language, not forced to worship the same religion.

Yesterday, I received an e-mail about the execution, the beheading, the

murder of American contractor Nick Berg in Iraq. The e-mail offered up a

website where the video could be seen with the invitation ³if you have the

stomach² to view the video to witness exactly what America, our citizens and

our troops are up against in the war in Iraq. I had seen the still pictures

taken from the video all over the news this week; I had heard that an

American civilian was beheaded because these Iraqis were angered by the

³abuse² of Iraqi prisoners by American troops.

I went to my computer 8 different times with the intention of watching this

video. My interest in what happened, what these men said, what they did,

took over. But 8 times my stomach turned me away. I did watch the video, I

cried before it was over, I sobbed when it was over. Anger followed,

wishing that these men would be slaughtered, but no, that is too easy. The

knowledge that this is the present, not a long-past visual of the tragedies

of war, this happened within the last week, a week in which I¹ve lived free,

working on a radio show, going out to dinner, sleeping peacefully, watching

TV, spending time with friends, wishing my Mom a happy Mother¹s Day, talking

to my Dad with enthusiasm about his upcoming trip here to visit me.

Then my thoughts turned to the tens of thousands of Iraqis who were raped,

humiliated, abused, mistreated and killed under Iraqi rule. These were not

only grown men, these were women and children. Women and children! I

remember now what our troops are doing in Iraq. The Iraqi regime did this

to people in their own country and desired to do it to others in the world.

That¹s why the US, peacemaker, world power, babysitter of the world is

there. We can¹t allow this to continue and we cannot accept the threat of

destruction to other parts of the world.

The beheading (which is not a fair description, this was a brutal drawn-out

slaughter) was a glimpse into what has happened over and over again and it

must be stopped. This made me realize more than ever what we¹re facing and

what we¹re up against‹more specifically, what our troops and American

workers are up against.

Last night, I saw Nick Berg¹s father putting up a sign in their front yard

that said ³War Is Not The Answer². Mr. Berg has a point and entitled to his

opinion, but war is the option to stop the spread of violence to more

innocent Iraqis, Americans and everyone else around the globe who is not an

ally of Iraq. War may not be the answer, but there is no real ³answer².

There are only options. Solitude is not an option. Diplomacy is no longer

an option. There is war.

American and coalition soldiers are fighting every day to protect the

freedom we all enjoy. They are also working selflessly in an effort to

offer up a glimpse of that freedom to people who have been terrorized and

tortured for their entire lives. Every one of these men and women deserve

so much respect that I¹m struggling to put it into words. They made a

conscious decision to sign up to protect our country, to serve our country,

to serve you and me. They are the first line of defense to protect MY

freedom!

It¹s a shame that to those of us living our daily lives, most of them are

nameless and faceless. Hundreds of thousands of troops that we don¹t know,

men and women that don¹t know us, but they will fight and DIE for us. I

can¹t think of how to give them enough gratitude, a pat on the back, a

prayer, a sincere thank-you? I don¹t know how to express it. But I saw

with my own eyes yesterday the type of soul-less, maniacal murderers that

they are facing. I only personally know one soldier fighting for us right

now, his name is Lance Baughman and right now he is in Fallujah. I went to

school with him, he¹s a year younger than me, and he has a family. I know

his story, I think of him fighting every day. There are hundreds of

thousands of others, I wish I knew them, I wish I knew their story as well.

Several weeks ago, we saw news stories and features dedicated to Pat

Tillman, a former NFL player who gave up his contract to enlist in the

military. He fought and died in Afghanistan. There was so much coverage of

his death, how he gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, how he is a

true American hero. I don¹t dispute any of this, but why is it that we

don¹t see and hear the stories of every other troop who has given that

³ultimate sacrifice². We SHOULD hear of each man and woman who has left

behind a spouse, children, a career, parents, siblings, friends. While I

wish there were no war casualties, that¹s not a reality.

Every American troop should be proud. Every American troop should be

thanked. And wouldn¹t it be a change to see the faces and hear the stories

of every American who has given the ultimate sacrifice be honored with a

moment of silence on a pre-game show, at a sports arena and just in general

be lifted up and highlighted like those who are famous or those who are

killed on videotape? That may never happen, but in the meantime, I hope

that everyone will remember a few things.

Remember that the US is the greatest country in the world and it provides us

with more opportunity than anyplace else ever could or ever will.

Remember that beyond a shadow of a doubt, our troops are facing nothing but

pure evil every day. What they¹re fighting is soul-less, destructive,

blood-thirsty, barbaric, powerful EVIL!

Remember to think of our troops every day, keep them in your thoughts and

prayers, remember that every soldier that you hear of that¹s murdered has a

name and a face. We may not know what that name is, but we know that they

have family and friends who are grieving.

Remember that Memorial Day is coming at the end of this month. Fly a flag,

attend a service, listen to a bugler play Taps, remember those who have died

in service, thank a veteran, think of those who serve.

I am grateful for every man and woman that is currently in or ever has been

in United States Military Service, whether at home or abroad. Thank you for

the decision you made to serve, thank you for giving me the opportunity to

live free. I¹ve never said it and I don¹t know whyŠDad, Thank You. I love

you.

Pete Herrick

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