Reader Harold Stones works for Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas. Mr. Stones writes:
I have become friends with Chris Phelps, a young Marine officer. Chris emailed me that he was about to be deployed for his second tour of duty in Iraq. He is married, has four sons, all younger than 7. I responded that I doubted his wife, Lisa, was overjoyed and, allthough her parents live nearby, I asked Chris to give her my office, home and cellphone numbers in the event they need anything. I think his message is well worth sharing.
Of course, we agree. Here is the response from Major Phelps that Mr. Stones forwarded to us:
No Lisa isn't happy, and I was just talking to my two oldest sons last night about sacrifice. (Sort of prepping the battlefield, but we've talked about the subject for two years.) I want them to understand the topic and what it means to be an American....really more what it means to stay an American and what citizens of this great country must do to secure that concept. It's amazing how a 6.5 and a 5 year old can really understand it, and actually converse back with an adult on the topic. It's going to be hard on them.
I hope I'm not too naive but this is what's in my head. I continually tell myself and I wholeheartedly believe that if we as a country can confront terrorism and rogue nation-states that support terrorist acts and if we can bring peace, hope, freedoms, and democracy to a country in the heart of the Middle East while at the same time solidifying the security, freedom, and liberties of this great nation then my sacrifice is inconsequential. If I am asked to partake in some small way to accomplish this goal then I say take me before my four sons are confronted with this problem in 20 years and they are forced to clean up a problem that has only festered, become increasingly worse and a problem that we should have confronted twenty years earlier. We are doing the right thing, and America needs to stand united and reaffirm to themselves every now and then that we are in fact doing the right thing. I think I'm a free minded thinker, and I'm not "brainwashed" by the President, Mr. Rumsfield, or some "right wing propaganda conspiracy theory." I really think we're attempting to accomplish something monumental. I guess we'll see.
Mr. Stones, you've been good to my family and so has Senator Roberts. Thank you for that. I look forward to seeing you again.
Major, United States Marine Corps