That word — that city — has been in the news a lot recently, and it’s caused me to think of how long it has been.
I served in the war. I am an Iraq veteran, 12 years removed, and still the name of that city brings back memories. Some of those memories are good. A few are very bad. Most are pretty mundane.
Don’t get me wrong — I was never there. Not in Fallujah. My brief tour in Iraq was spent in the Army, in Baghdad. Compared to what the Marines slogged through clearing the mess in Fallujah, my time in the fight against terrorism was far less dramatic.
But still, Fallujah holds a special place in the souls of the men and women who fought and bled all over Iraq and Afghanistan. Because in that battle’s history, we remember our own.
And it’s a history we cannot forget.
We remember the sand fleas. Playing cards, sitting on boxes of those big water bottles. The smell of cigarettes and old dip spit mixing with sweat stained brown undershirts and lingering in a dry, sandy room. Remember the time we went to the Kuwait border, and they had that air conditioned tent? That might as well have been heaven.
We also remember the IEDs and the mortars and the sniper attacks. We remember the blood.
But nothing can escape time — not even memories. I’ve had a whole life since Iraq. Some of the memories are getting a little fuzzy for me.
There are 2.5 million other troops that have deployed in support of the global war on terrorism, and all have these same kind of memories. Undoubtedly, it’s getting a little fuzzy for some of them, too.
And every day that passes, there’s less and less of us left to remember.
In the early 2000’s, I was young and strong and full of piss and vinegar. I wasn’t scared of a fight. I was eager.
Now, I’m older. I’m far less fit, and far less confident in a fight. My hair is still here, but my knees have already started to go.
I was young when I served in the fight against global terrorism. Some of my fellow veterans weren’t. Some are now in the late 40s and 50s.
It took four years after the fall of Saigon for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to incorporate and begin raising funds for the Wall.
It has been over four years since President Barack Obama began withdrawing American combat troops from Iraq.
That means it’s time — and an organization opened last year pushing for the memorial, led by the same man that started the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in 1979.
I humbly ask The Horn News readers to take time during their Independence Day celebrations and consider supporting this organization, so we can a properly honor our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans — before it’s too late.
Click here for more information on the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Fund
— Stephen Dietrich is the Managing Editor of The Horn News
ILLINOIS BOB says
There are 2 wars to fight in 2016;
1) Ending Clinton corruption run for POTUS, and overhaul government operations.
2) Ending or minimizing the global terrorists actions, starting with ISIL and other Middle East terror groups.
GOD BLESS AMERICA – HAPPY INDEPENDANCE DAY ! It is OUR COUNTRY, with freedoms earned in blood by our patriots and military (all branches)….. I AM NOT LIVING HERE TO BE PART OF AN OBAMA DRIVEN NEW WORLD ORDER aka A GLOBAL PIECE OF LAND WITH NO BORDERS… The USA must remain a sovereign nation.
Well said!!!! I agree!!
Uncle Buck Ofama says
Right you are, Bob. We’ve seen enemies of America come and go. obama and his isis pals aren’t the first. I believe, and have always believed, that America is stronger than the back-stabbing slime that come cloaked in deception. For too long, we have been in a one-way war; where slimeballs sneak around under cover of darkness, and shoot at unsuspecting targets. It’s time we started shooting back, and to Hell with political correctness.
Agree, However, I’d say there’s a 3rd war as well. That’s the war to remove every vestige on the Kenyan muslim/marxist, its “legacy”, its pollution of our systems, its federal imperialism and overreach, its reduction of our individual rights and its parasites and minions from our country. Semper Fi!!
Illinois Bob, you covered it all….In some ways I am glad we are out of there and my son made it home safe, from that terrible Muslim Hell hole. , but are we, any safer here in the good ole US of A ?….what with the Muslim-in-charge, changing and demoralizing our military, reducing it to the Level of a Camel Herd …..We went there to rid the world of some very bad people…they are still there, and many of our brave hearts never returned…so like I said ….in a way I am glad to be out of there, but the way in which we left was almost a treasonous, and certainly not what we fought and died for over there. I mourn the loss of so many families on this special day, in this special country, and can only say they have contributed so much to America because of the terrible loss to their family, Lossed that can never be replaced, we must comfort them and share their grief ……I honor and salute them, and share their loss this very day.
Bob. You are so right sir. The time is now to start to repair all the damage that has been done in the last 8 years and prevent 4 more. Our country can’t continue the direction in which it is headed. This country needs us citizens to do what’s right this time instead of just going along with the flow. Think of not only yourself but future generations.
As a Veteran! Happy birthday America, and to the one that are hear that want hurt us we will find you!
So get out of our country now!
Uncle Buck Ofama says
Right back at you, Mike, and thanks. And, I agree: If you’re to hurt America, like a certain Kenyan prick I know of, and fellow travelers, we WILL find you.
The ISIS terror was caused by Obama’s inept foreign policy.
Uncle Buck Ofama says
Not inept, Greg; he’s plenty ept…trouble is, he’s a traitor…not stupid, Treasonous!
Exactly…. except that to be a “traitor” it would have to be American to begin with.
It is time to get a memorial underway for Iraq and Afghanistan. Unlike the Martin Luther King Jr. statue, it should be made of American stone by Americans stone cutters! NOT CHINESE! That statue of King, reminded me of the picture of Geo. Washington the “CRAW” had from the 60’s sit com “Get Smart”.
Uncle Buck Ofama says
Hahahaa, The Craw…I don’t think I ever saw that episode…probably too busy checking out 99.
I think another medal that everyone gets won’t have much significance, like the National Defense Service medal. We called it the “gedunk ribbon” in the Navy. There are already several medals for combat action.
Happy 4th of july…independence day….
To all americans.
As I read this article, I was astounded at the similarity of thought from Vietnam and Iraq that my brother in arms so vividly portrayed. The major difference is only the span of time from twelve years back to forty-seven years in my memory, but still the pictures are still indelibly portrayed in my old senile mind. It seems that some of us remember only in part, while others wish they could forget, but regardless of the cognition, we all have our own reminders from the wounds we incurred, whether physical, mental or emotional.
Folks, our freedom is being threatened today as never before. So much so, that even the very foundation on which our Nation is based is being shaken. Our Nation was founded upon Biblical principles which promote life and prosperity; but as a Nation we have turned our backs upon these principles and have lost our dignity and integrity as a Christian Nation. We need to seriously consider if we really want to sacrifice all that our forefathers have fought and died for in the past, only to be enslaved to a world in which moral character is replaced with PC. Folks, it matters not what the skin color is between a Black Mamba (Black) or a Bamboo Viper (Green), They are still both very deadly, and we as a people need to stand for what is right for the American people as a WHOLE and not let emotions or PC carry us to our demise.
God Bless America! God Protect Donald Trump!
E. G. Keith says
Thankful for the wonderful comments and shared memories of above. Reminds me of a song (sorry do not know the author/composer) that a gentleman by the name of Steve Green sings: “Oh may those who come behind us find us faithful. May the power of our devotion light their way. May the footprints that we leave lead them to to believe and the life we lead inspire them to obey. Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.” Cemetaries, large and small across this nation, the national cemetaries are ‘resting places’ for those ‘that were faithful’. A family member is buried out at the Fort Custer National Cemetary here in Michigan. My sincere and grateful thanks to all vets. As Iriving Berlin wrote, GOD BLESS AMERICA!
It should be a National War Against Muslim Terrorism Memorial and it should begin with the names of our Marines who fought in or around Tripoli under President Thomas Jefferson during our first naval battles outside of our U.S. Borders. This enemy of freedom has not changed since they first began 1393 years ago.
Michael Switzer says
Stephen this is a well written article and thank you for starting the conversation about recognizing these Desert Storm and Desert Shield veterans. For some veterans building a tribute helps brings them closer to these terrible conflicts. In a article I wrote to my daughter about my service in the Navy, for the Pathways of Honor Facebook page, I tell her “So when you meet a veteran remember they are all heroes because they took action in the face of danger”. On a individual level our group Pathways of Honor is building a tribute for these Heroes called Legacy Plaza. The Plaza will be for them to tell their story on a engraved brick and permanent placement in the courtyard. Go to http://www.legacyplaza.donationbricks.com for closure.
This day has a special meaning for me having lost my father in World War II, who was killed in action and buried at sea. I pray for those who are currently in the military overseas, those who have returned home, and the countless souls who lost their lives. What freedom remains in this Nation is due to their COURAGE, BRAVERY, AND LOYALTY. We are currently without a leader in Washington whose only intention is to DESTROY AMERICA . A man who has no vision for GOOD. A man who follows DARKNESS only. However, I believe that this will change when we elect DONALD TRUMP AS OUR NEXT POTUS.
GOD HEAL OUR NATION AND HELP US TO BECOME THE SUPER POWER WE ONCE WERE.
America, The Home of the Brave, The Land of The Free. Whose Country that was built on the sweat, pain, misery of
the countless number of men, women, and children of Our past, whose blood fertilizes the ground upon We Stand.
As We stand United, laughing, with ONE unifying Voice, that Voice that can BE heard around this planet We call Earth,
“IS that ALL you got’!
Frank J Hefler says
i’ve been there, done that,suffered in Souyh Korea in 1951-52,100% disabled & I’d do it again, in a Heart Beat,when called!!!!!!
Frank J Hefler says
I mean to correct a miss-spelled word, I wrote Souyh Korea when it”s spelled South Korea, & I reiterate 100% disabled & I’d do it again, in a Heart Beat,when called!!!!!!!