Dear John somewhere in an Afghanistan combat zone:
"Thank you for your service" sounds so lame, so I am not going to say it.
I've only met you a couple of times, at company picnics, while you were growing up. You aren't that much older than my son. And you share something with him, a love to work on objects, to repair them.
Like many young men, you didn't have the easiest time of it in school. But your Mom was always there for you, fighting when she had to so you could get a free, appropriate public education. She was so proud of you, John, when you became a weightlifting champion. And stood by you when you made some bad life choices. But you rejected that road, and put yourself back on the right road. You married your high school sweetheart. You joined the Marines. And last month, you were shipped out.
I think about you although I barely know you, John. I've met some other men, all older, who have been back from the combat zones, both from Iraq and from Afghanistan. I have never been in combat, although I know those who have been (including at least two people who have supervised me at my various jobs.) I can not begin to imagine what you are going through now, and how it will change you. And change you it will.
I won't question the war or support it-this blog does not take political positions. What I will do, John, is pray for your safe return home. For the sake of your high school sweetheart, and your mother. And our country. We need you, John. And we need all the other brave men and women who put their lives on the line so the rest of us can sit here on a Christmas Eve and go about our everyday lives.