January 02, 2008 To all American Warriors & Patriots, In December 2007 I released a PowerPoint presentation entitled, “These Are My Credentials”, which generated an unexpected quantity of positive responses. (Google “These Are My Credentials Coffey” to find several links to these slides ). I Thank you for your kind and supportive words. This presentation “On Point” highlights those timeless and enduring qualities of our troops from our earliest days as a nation through the current war. These enduring qualities, beliefs and sentiments provide the basis for our military’s might and therefore the lifeline for the preservation of our freedoms. It has been said that the “American Fluids of Freedom” include the red, white and blue blood of the vein, the sweat of the brow, the grease of the elbow and the tear of the eye. I have attempted to capture these “fluids” and sentiments of honor, courage, service and sacrifice in this presentation. It remains my desire that all Americans hold our current troops in the highest regard, that their courage and sacrifices are never forgotten and that our troops receive the support they need, expect and most importantly, deserve. To this end, all each of us can do is to do all we can do. Bill Coffey, Soldier (Retired) Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA [email_address] This presentation is provided fully without restrictions. You may use it, post it, distribute it, use its parts in any way you would like. The quotes may be considered “public domain”, while some of the photos may be copyrighted. I receive many photos without credit to the originators and therefore do not know the sources for many of them. Bill Coffey, Basra Iraq, June 2006 If you have any great quotes, letters, stories or photos you would like to share for future presentations please email to the above address Thanking you in advance!!
“ On Point” a tribute to our troops National Guard On Point for the Nation since 13 December 1636 Soldiers , On Point for the Nation since 14 June 1775 Sailors , On Point for the Nation since 13 October 1775 Marines , On Point for the Nation since 10 November 1775 Coast Guardsmen , On Point for the Nation since 04 August 1790 Airmen , On Point for the Nation since 18 September 1947
Battle for Long Island, American Revolution Battle for Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom “ The American Soldier has been much the same, probably, from the Revolutionary War to the present day. He reflects the national character and the national character has not changed a great deal. Weapons, tactics, strategic concepts, equipment – all these have changed enormously; yet the human material of which American armies are made is today very much as it was generations ago. As the battle record of many wars attests, this material has uniformly been pretty good. If there is one thing in American we can be sure of, it is that there is a value in our loose, easy-going, good-natured society here that is worth everything anyone can sacrifice for it. The American Soldier usually plays it by ear. He can never really becomes very military; for better or for worse, he remains to the end a citizen in arms“ Bruce Catton, from his book, “America Goes to War”, 1958
“ The M-16, and its M-4 variant, still has a bayonet and its 5.56-millimeter (mm) bullet has not changed since the Vietnam War. Our Soldiers are deployed in the mountains of Afghanistan and cities of Iraq today with bayonets fixed and 5.56-mm rounds chambered. Other timeless tools of our profession include .50 and .30 caliber bullets, and the 81, 105 and 155-mm High Explosive (HE) rounds. These bullets and rounds still allow our Army to fulfill its non-negotiable contract with the American people to fight and win our nation's wars. Each of our Soldiers must still wear helmets and carry rifles, field rations, canteens, entrenching tools and grenades while negotiating and dodging mines, rockets, mortars, IEDs, and enemy automatic, machine-gun and sniper fires. Requirements for tough and realistic training have not changed. Requirements for a strong NCO corps have not changed. The requirement for Soldiers to hit targets more than 300 meters away with their M16 or M4 rifles has not changed. Murphy's Laws of Combat have not changed. The brutal nature of combat has not changed. Our nation's wars are still won by the Soldier on the scene with a gun. Requirements for tough physical and mental conditioning have not changed. Requirements for selfless and inspirational leadership, at all levels, have not changed. Military families have not changed, they still cry their eyes out when their military loved ones are deployed to dangerous parts of our globe. They still cry their eyes out with the joy of thanksgiving when their loved ones return. They cry tears of grief when their loved ones are returned in a flag-draped coffin. Our Nation too still grieves such losses. Soldiers still pray. The Oath of Enlistment and Oath of Office have not changed. Our Constitution and its Bill of Rights have not changed, nor has our Pledge of Allegiance or our National Anthem. The Army's mission to uphold the ideals set forth in the U.S. Constitution has not changed. Other than the addition of more stars, Old Glory has not changed, nor what it stands for. Our Army's heritage and history have not changed, although our Soldiers write a new page everyday with their courageous service and sacrifice. Our Army's battle record has not changed. The Army flag still proudly flies its well-earned battle streamers. We remain a winning team. The intangibles of our Army, our values and our warrior ethos - that steely look of stamina, guts, determination and discipline in Soldiers' eyes, have not changed. Our Army's core values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-service, Honor, Integrity and Personal courage ("LDRSHIP") have not changed, and thank God for that. Although we serve our nation in a time of many changes, there remain many things that do not change. As professional Soldiers and citizens we must remain conscious of those things that should change, those things that are changing and those core tenants of our profession ... Soldiers and their values ... which can never change, if we are to remain strong, brave and therefore free. So, the next time you read that "the Soldier is the centerpiece of our Army" believe it to be true. Soldiers, men and women, Active and Reserve Components, have always been the centerpiece of our beloved Army, they have always been our credentials, they have always been what our Army is all about, and for the past 30 years, these Soldiers have all been volunteers! We must always remember the Soldier. Our country and our Soldiers deserve nothing less. Excerpt from the article "What Hasn't Changed", by MAJ Coffey, May 2005
“ My Pledge. America must win this war. Therefore I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, and I will endure. I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.” Handwritten note found in the diary of US Army Private Martin Treptow, France, WWI. Killed by artillery fire, later that day, his comrades were able to go out after him to recover his body, and to recover his personal belongings that were to be returned to his family, which included his diary with the above pledge.
“ I asked a World War II veteran why he fought. He said, ‘I was 18 years old. I knew the difference between right and wrong. I didn’t want to live in a world where wrong prevailed…so I fought.’” Dr. Steven E. Ambrose, remarks at the dedication of the National D-Day Museum, June 6, 2000
From Firebase Gershk, Afghanistan. “ De Oppresso Liber” (Special Forces motto, “To Free the Oppressed” )
“ If a man hasn't discovered something that he would die for, he isn't fit to live.” Martin Luther King Jr.
"A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” John Stuart Mill
" It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who if he wins knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt, April 1910
"In this division of 22,000 men, I receive many letters similar to yours from parents, relatives, friends and sweethearts. They do not understand why the man who had a good law practice at home cannot be in the Judge Advocate Generals Department, why the drug store manager cannot work in the post hospital, why the school teacher cannot be used in educational work. They are willing for someone else to do the hard, dirty work of the fighting man so long as the one they are interested in can be spared that duty. If doctors in the future are to have the privilege of practicing their profession, if archeologists are to investigate antiquity, if students are to have the privilege of taking degrees, and professors the privilege of teaching in their own way, somebody must march and fight and bleed and die and I know no reason why students, doctors, professors, and archeologists shouldn't do their share of it. You say, "It strikes me as too bad to take that type of education and bury it in a rifle squad," as though there were something low or mean or servile being a member of a rifle squad and only morons and ditch diggers should be given such duty. I know of no place red blooded men of intelligence and initiative are needed than in the rifle or weapons squad. It is desirable that all men, regardless of their specialty, shall learn by doing; how hard it is to march with a pack for 20 miles; how to hold their own in bayonet combat; and how to respect the man who really takes it, namely the private in the rifle squad. I have written you this long letter because in your high position you exercise a large influence on what people think and the way they regard the Army. It is necessary for them to understand men must do that which best helps to win the war and often that is not the same as what they do best." Excerpts, from letter by Brigadier General Ralph T. McPernell, Commander, 27th Infantry Division to Representative Clinton P. Anderson, February 27, 1942
“ There are really two wars and they haven’t much to do with each other. There is the war of maps and logistics, of campaigns, of ballistics, armies, divisions and regiments – and that is General George Marshall’s war. Then there is the war of the homesick, weary, funny, violent, common men who wash their socks in their helmets, complain about the food, whistle at the Arab girls, or any girls for that matter, and bring themselves through as dirty a business as the world has ever seen and do it with humor and dignity and courage – and that is Ernie Pyle’s war.” John Steinbeck, Noble Prize winning author, 1945
This photo of Gunnery Sgt Michael “Iron Mike” Burghardt was taken after he received injuries from an IED. His story: He became a legend in the bomb disposal world after winning the Bronze Star for disabling 64 IEDs and destroying 1,548 pieces of ordnance. Then, on September 19, 2005, he got blown up. He had arrived at a chaotic scene after a bomb had killed four US soldiers. So he began what bomb disposal officers term "the longest walk", stepping gingerly into a 5ft deep and 8ft wide crater. The earth shifted slightly and he saw a Senao base station with a wire leading from it. He cut the wire and used his 7in knife to probe the ground. "I found a piece of red detonating cord between my legs," he says. "That's when I knew I was screwed." At that moment, an insurgent, probably watching through binoculars, pressed a button on his mobile phone to detonate the secondary device below his feet "A chill went up the back of my neck and then the bomb exploded," he recalls. "As I was in the air I remember thinking, 'I don't believe they got me.' I was just ticked off they were able to do it. Then I was lying on the road, not able to feel anything from the waist down." His colleagues cut off his trousers to see how badly he was hurt. None could believe his legs were still there. "My dad's a Vietnam vet who's paralyzed from the waist down, I was lying there thinking I didn't want to be in a wheelchair next to my dad and for him to see me like that. They started to cut away my pants and I felt a real sharp pain and blood trickling down. Then I wiggled my toes and I thought, 'Good, I'm in business’. As a stretcher was brought over, adrenaline and anger kicked in. I decided to walk to the helicopter. I wasn't going to let my team-mates see me being carried away on a stretcher." He stood and gave the insurgents who had blown him up a one-fingered salute. "I flipped them one. It was like, 'OK, I lost that round but I'll be back next week'. Sgt Burghardt's injuries - burns and wounds to his legs and buttocks - kept him off duty for nearly a month and could have earned him a ticket home. But, like his father - who was awarded a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts for being wounded in action in Vietnam - he stayed in Ramadi to engage the enemy another day.
“ I am a soldier, I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight.” General George Patton Jr.
From Baghdad: I was in line at our deli this week with a 21-year-old PFC from the 82nd. He was soaked in sweat and had an M4 slung over his back and a big grin on his face. I started talking to him and found out he was in here on a quick break to drop off something at the HQs/Palace while they patrolled Haifa Street just outside the embassy. They decided to grab lunch while they were here (good call). Haifa Street is one of the nastiest places on Earth. Al Qaeda considers the street its turf; the 82nd Airborne vigorously disputes the claim. This young Soldier was the most upbeat and enthusiastic person I have met since I have been here. After seven months of doing combat patrols, seeing his friends killed and getting shot at on a daily basis, he was not the least bit daunted or disillusioned. What he told me was, "This is a tough fight with bad people. They mean us harm. I am a paratrooper. I'm here to take care of it. There is plenty of work to do, but we are up for it." I was immediately reminded of a picture and quote taken during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944: Dec. 23, 1944 - An entire U.S. armored division was retreating from the Germans in the Ardennes forest when a sergeant in a tank destroyer spotted an American digging a foxhole. The GI, PFC Martin, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, looked up and asked, "Are you looking for a safe place?" "Yeah," answered the tanker. "Well, buddy,“ he drawled, "just pull your vehicle behind me... I'm the 82nd Airborne, and this is as far as the bastards are going." ...That young Airborne PFC I met this week, once again, made me thank God for brave young paratroopers. I have no doubt that Haifa Street is as far as these bastards are going too. We all need to pause and thank God that our Nation has been blessed, generation after generation, with young men and women like these two PFCs who, separated by 63 years and continents, are full of optimism and courage and do not take counsel of anyone's fears. ---- The names and faces may change, but the spirit of our Soldiers remains. This is why we do what we do for a living. It's all about Soldiers! COL George M. Bilafer, Deputy Commander, U.S Army Combat Readiness Center, Fort Rucker, Alabama
“ Before battle young soldiers then and now think about their buddies. They talk about families, wives and girlfriends and relate to each other through very personal confessions. The armies that met at Gettysburg were not from the social elite. They didn’t have Harvard degrees or the pedigree of political bluebloods. They were in large measure immigrant Irish or German kids from northern farms and factories or poor scratch farmers from the piedmont of Virginia, Georgia, Texas and North Carolina. Just as in Iraq today soldiers they came from every corner of our country to meet in harsh and forbidding places in far corners of the world, places that I’ve seen and visited but can never explain adequately to those who have never been there. Soldiers suffer, fight and occasionally die for each other. It’s as simple as that. What brought Longstreet’s or Hancock’s men to face the canister on Little Round Top or rifled musket fire on Cemetery Ridge was no different than the motive force that compels young soldiers today to kick open a door in Ramadi with the expectation that what lies on the other side is either an innocent huddling with a child in her arms or a fanatic insurgent yearning to buy his ticket to eternity by killing the infidel. No difference.” MG (Ret) Robert H. Scales, Gettysburg Speech, Memorial Day, 2007
"Pray not for lighter burdens but for stronger backs.” Theodore Roosevelt
I AM A SOLDIER I am a soldier. My blood permeates the soil of many countries. I have gasped my last breath on many a desolate stretch of beach. For you...all of you, the children who play in the parks, the mothers who watch over them, the fathers who struggle to sustain them. There are those here who have belittled and reviled me, who have made a mockery of me and what I stand for. You, also, have I suffered and died for. I withstood heat, insects and disease so the right to dissent would be yours. I endured the pain and terror of battle and the maiming of my body to ensure that you might worship as you please. I died in agony in order that you, no matter who or what you are, have the freedom to choose your own destinies. AND I WOULD DO IT AGAIN because I believe in the ideals that made this country what it is today... FREE. I love her with a deep and abiding love that transcends mere physical pain. I AM A SOLDIER. Pray that I will always be there, for if I disappear from this country, so will you.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" Edmund Burke (1729-1797), British statesman and philosopher
“ The ultimate determinant in war is a man on the scene with a gun. This man is the final power in war. He is control, he determines who wins. There are those who would dispute this as an absolute, but it is my belief that while other means may critically influence war today, after whatever devastation and destruction may be inflicted on an enemy, if the strategist is forced to strive for final and ultimate control, he must establish, or must present as an inevitable prospect, a man on the scene with a gun. This is the Soldier.” Rear Admiral Wylie, U.S. Navy, World War II
“ The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.” Jeff Cooper, “The Art of the Rifle“, 1997
“ Dear Dad, It is incredibly humbling to walk among such men. They fought as hard as any Marines in history and deserve to be remembered as such. The enemy they fought burrowed into houses and fired through mouse holes cut in walls, lured them into houses rigged with explosives and detonated the houses on pursuing Marines, and actually hid behind surrender flags only to engage the Marines with small arms fire once they perceived that the Marines had let their guard down. I know of several instances where near dead enemy rolled grenades out on Marines who were preparing to render them aid. It was a fight to the finish in every sense and the Marines delivered. My whole life I have read about the greatest generation and sat in wonder at their accomplishments. For the first time, as I watch these Marines and Soldiers, I am eager for the future as this is just the beginning for them. Perhaps the most amazing characteristic of all is that the morale of the men is sky high. They hurt for the wounded and the dead but they are eager to continue to attack. Further, not one of them would be comfortable with being called a hero even though they clearly are.” Letter home on the close combat in Fallujah, from Dave, a US Marine - Nov 19, 2004
“ A conglomerate mass of Americans gathered from all walks of life who had been shaped into a cohesive organization for the purpose of performing certain military tasks, the unit was … not simply the place where members lived and worked, ate and slept, the unit was the Soldier’s family.” A description of the squads, platoons, and companies of the 291st Engineer Combat Battalion, WWII
"An army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of bullshit." General George Patton Jr .
“ We're Marines, we took Iwo Jima, Baghdad ain't shit." Attributed to BG John F. Kelly, Asst Division Cmdr, 1st Marine Div, Iraq, 2003
"Be a man of principle. Fight for what you believe in. Keep your word. Live with integrity. Be brave. Believe in something bigger than yourself. Serve your country. Teach. Mentor. Give something back to society. Lead from the front. Conquer your fears. Be a good friend. Be humble and be self-confident. Appreciate your friends and family. Be a leader and not a follower. Be valorous on the field of battle. Take responsibility for your actions." These words from Major Douglas Zembiec were taken from his combat journal under the title “ Principles my father taught me ”. Major Zembiec was Killed In Action, May 11, 2007, during his fourth tour of duty in Iraq, during a raid against insurgent forces. He was nicknamed the “Lion of Fallujah” while serving as the Commander of Echo Company, 2nd Bn, 1st Regiment, 1st Marine Division during the April 2004 Battle of Fallujah after he told reporters, “My Marines have fought like lions and will continue to do so. Ten million insurgents won’t even begin to fill the boots of one of my men.” He is survived by his wife Pamela, 1-year old daughter Fallyn Justice, parents Donald and Jo Ann, his brother John, the Marine Corps and the United States of America. This is a picture of Major Zembiec taken in April 2004 taken during the first Battle of Fallujah, Iraq
Cindy Sheehan asked President Bush, "Why did my son have to die in Iraq?" Another mother asked President Kennedy, "Why did my son have to die in Viet Nam?" Another mother asked President Truman, "Why did my son have to die in Korea?" Another mother asked President F.D. Roosevelt, "Why did my son have to die at Iwo Jima?" Another mother asked President W. Wilson, "Why did my son have to die on the battlefield of France?" Yet another mother asked President Lincoln, "Why did my son have to die at Gettysburg?" And yet another mother asked President G. Washington, "Why did my son have to die near Valley Forge?" Then, long, long ago, a mother asked, "Heavenly Father, why did my Son have to die on a cross outside of Jerusalem?" The answers to all these are similar -- "that others may have life and dwell in peace, happiness and freedom."
“ These Americans are not like the ones before. They stay and fight. Wherever they go they create death; they are death walkers.” Taliban fighter captured in Afghanistan in June 2002
“ There's this quote about, ‘No one prays for peace more desperately than the fighting man, nor does anyone fight so hard to preserve it.’ It's possibly the strangest paradox I've encountered, but I'd never doubt its truth.”
“ Except for ending slavery, genocide, Fascism, Nazism, and Communism, war has never solved anything.”
“ I have concluded that Americans, and especially those of us in our military, serve humankind. We serve to make this a better world. We serve because we dare to believe and proclaim that everyone has the God given right to be free. We serve because we are big enough to realize how small we are. We serve because our hearts and our minds convince us it is the moral thing to do. We serve because we believe in and are inspired by freedom. And finally, we serve because we said we would. We really do serve something much greater than just our Constitution. While our service is not necessarily tied to a uniform, rank or position, it is tied to a decision to serve selflessly and courageously and to continue serving as long as we can. There was no “expiration date” associated with my Oath of Office” Excerpt from letter written by MAJ Coffey on the occasion of his retirement, April 2003
“ Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9
“ … and then one of them, a young handsome Devil Dog with broad shoulders and the kind of look that should be used as a recruiting poster, looked at me, took a deep breath that instantly let you know what he was about to say was important and warranted your undivided attention, and said, "you know Sir, it's amazing. Even the "bad ass" Marines cannot help but get a little choked up about what we are doing in Yusufiyah. I mean, when we seized that town and it was a running gun battle day in and day out, that place was abandoned. Nobody came out of their houses. But now, when we are out on patrol, and all the schools are back open and people are living their lives, it feels good. But what really gets you Sir... those little kids...those little kids...they come up to you and in their broken English say "look, we go to school" with a wide smile and a thumbs up. It gets to you Sir, it feels good. We are doing really good out there, aren't we Sir?" Well, after you could count every hair on the back of my neck because it was at the position of attention, and after the chills stopped going down my spine, and the tears were pushed back into my soul from whence they sprang, I simply said, "you have no idea Devil Dog. You have no idea. You have done amazing. And one day, I will tell the world just HOW amazing.“ LtCol Mark A. Smith, CMDR, TF 2/24, 24 MEU, Iraq, December 2004
"The best medal is a live man's smile" Unofficial Creed of many Combat Medics
“ ATTENTION To All Who Enter Here. If you are coming into this room with sorrow or to feel sorry for my wounds, go elsewhere. The wounds I received I got in a job I love, doing it for people I love. I am incredibly tough and will make a full recovery. What is full? That is the absolute utmost physically my body has the ability to recover. Then I will push that about 20% further through sheer mental tenacity. This room you are about to enter is a room of fun, optimism, and intense rapid regrowth. If you are not prepared for that, go elsewhere. From: The Management” This picture of a note on a hospital door came from the Navy's Combat Casualty Care Office in Washington D.C. They administer to the most severely wounded Sailors. This hand written note was on the door of a SEAL trooper who took a round from a AK-47 to his face and arm.
“ I n war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” José Narosky
“ Humans are more important than hardware” “SOF cannot be mass produced” “Competent SOF cannot be created after emergencies occur” “Quality is better than quantity” US Special Operations Forces (SOF) Poster, seen in Iraq
“ War brings out the worst in you. It turns you into a mad fighting animal. But it also brings out something else, something I just don’t know how to describe … a sort of tenderness and love for the fellow fighting with you.” Medal of Honor recipient and most decorated US Soldier in WWI, SGT Alvin York
"I've said it a thousand times - `God, I hate this country.' I've heard it a million times more - `This place sucks.' In quieter moments, I've heard more profound things: `Sir, this is a thousand times worse than I ever thought it would be.' They say they're scared, and say they won't do this or that, but when it comes time to do it they can't let their buddies down, can't let their friends go outside the wire without them, because they know it isn't right for the team to go into the ballgame at any less than 100 percent. That's combat, I guess, and there's no way you can be ready for it. It just is what it is, and everybody's experience is different. Just thought you might want to know what it's really like." Excerpts from letter "What It's Really Like", by Army Lieutenant, Iraq, 2005
"Our GIs are the best ambassadors America has ever had." Colonel Carl E. Mundy, III, USMC, Commander, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). Col Mundy stated further that he believes the difficult victories of today’s war “are won in the human heart"
“ The morale, fighting effectiveness, and confidence of U.S. combat forces continue to be simply awe-inspiring. In every sensing session and interaction I probed for weakness and found courage, belief in the mission, enormous confidence in their sergeants and company grade officers, an understanding of the larger mission, a commitment to creating an effective Iraqi Army and Police, unabashed patriotism, and a sense of humor ... The US Armed Forces are a rock. This is the most competent and brilliantly led military in a tactical and operational sense that we have ever fielded. Its courage and dedication is unabated after 20,000 killed and wounded." Barry R. McCaffrey, General, (Ret.), Excerpt from his Academic Report, "Trip to Iraq and Kuwait“, April 25, 2006
“ The true goal we seek is far above and beyond the ugly field of battle. When we resort to force, as now we must, we are determined that this force shall be directed toward ultimate good as well as against immediate evil. We Americans are not destroyers - - we are builders.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt, December 9, 1941 Fireside Chat
"Brothers, I'm not a king or a general. I've never held rank beyond that of platoon commander. So I say to you now only what I would say to my own men, knowing the fear that stands unspoken in each heart -- not of death, but worse, of faltering or failing, of somehow proving unworthy in this, the ultimate hour.... Here is what you do, friends. Forget country. Forget king. Forget wife and children and freedom. Forget every concept, however noble, that you imagine you fight for here today. Act for this alone: for the man who stands at your shoulder. He is everything, and everything is contained within him. That is all I know. That is all I can tell you." From the book, “Gates of Fire”, ( Gates of Fire is an historical novel about the immortal military stand of an elite group of 300 Spartan warriors at Thermopylae against the invading Persians , 480 B.C.)
“ The strength of the wolf is the pack, the strength of the pack is the wolf.” Rudyard Kipling
"Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of a brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or to die.“ General George Washington
“ If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
"Americans, indeed all free men, remember that in the final choice, a soldier’s pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner’s chains." President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1st Inaugural Address, 20 Jan 1953
“ The losses were hard on our units. But anyone back home who thinks the world is a safe place needs to come here for a day and learn real fast that there are people out there who hate Americans enough to risk their lives to kill us. I see firsthand in Iraq that we cannot live peacefully back home right now unless we stay on the offensive against our enemies in their own backyards. The day we signed up, all of us soldiers accepted the risk of death as the price of defeating evil. There are some things worth fighting and dying for, and making America safer is one of them.” 1LT Michael Erwin, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cav Regt, 1 CAV Div, AAR comments from the Second Battle of Fallujah, November 2004
“ Day by day, fix your eyes upon the greatness of Athens, until you become filled with the love of her; and when you are impressed by the spectacle of her glory, reflect that this empire has been acquired by men who knew their duty and had the courage to do it.” Thucydides, The Funeral Speech for Pericles (Thucydides, c. 460 BC – c. 395 BC was an ancient Greek historian, and the author of the History of the Peloponnesian War . Pericles, ca. 495–429 BC, was a prominent and influential statesman, orator, and general of Athens during the city's Golden Age–specifically, the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars)
The only thing tougher than being a Soldier, …
"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived." General George S. Patton, Jr .
A Soldier’s Prayer “ God bless my men, who now lie dead. I know not what You have in mind, but when You judge, please be kind … when they come before you, they will be poorly dressed, but will walk proudly, for they have done their best. Their boots will be muddy and their clothes all torn .. but these clothes they have so proudly worn. Their hearts will be still and cold inside, for they have fought their best and did so with pride. So please take care of them as they pass Your way .. the price of freedom they’ve already paid.”
What did you do today for freedom? Today, at the front, he died … Today, what did you do? Next time you see a list of dead and wounded, ask yourself: 'What have I done today for freedom’? ‘What can I do tomorrow for freedom’? ‘What can I do tomorrow that will save the lives of men like this and help them win the war?