November 12, 2008

Dear Gabe,

You don't know me. We've never met. I'm just a guy your mother occasionally finds to be mildly amusing.

I'm also a Canadian, so I'm somewhat removed from your situation. Aside from the different attitudes towards the military in our two countries, I also think the decision your government made to send you and your fellows into Iraq was a poor one. Or at least made for the wrong reasons.

That, however does not reflect on you in any way. You are a man who answered his country's call when he perceived it was needed. You stood up and said, "yes, put me in harm's way for the benefit of all my friends, family, neighbours and countrymen." For that I have nothing but the utmost respect for you, and the brothers-in-arms with whom you have spent the last two years.

I am also a father; not of a whole brood of Oompahs, like your parents, but of a fourteen year-old boy - much like one of your younger brothers - much like you were, yourself, not too many years ago. As such, I have understood your Mother's complex feelings over your enlistment and deployment. I have read along in her blog, feeling her fear for, feeling her helplessness about, and feeling her emmense pride in her son. I cannot imagine what I would feel if my son announced he was joining the military. Were it to come to pass, I can only hope to handle it with the grace your Mother has displayed during a time when her worst fears were never very far from the surface of her mind.

With your current tour of duty over, I share your Mother's joy at your return home, and relief that you are out of harm's way - at least for a while. Welcome home, Gabe. Well done, and welcome home. Have a beer for me. Heck, have two - it'll be like having one Canadian beer.


Paul Little

(cross posted in Letters to Gabe)


Simon said...

Nicely said. After that, I'll have a beer on his behalf as well.

Anonymous said...

Hey now, stop bashing American beer. Don't you know that the lower alcohol content is there for our own good? ;)


Dawn Allynn said...

Aw, nice letter Paul! It was the best kind of sincere.

Shay said...

completely OT -- thank you for your thoughtful response to Orac's post on fundamentalist religion and the concept of brain death.

Andi said...

I'll hoist one for the man too! I remember being so frightened for him and his mother when he left, and sad that he had to cut off that gorgeous hair! (ok, call me shallow) Anyway, I am so glad Gabe made it back! Thank you for fighting for us all.

natalie said...

interesting Paul

Cathy said...

It's easy to feel compassion and pity for those who kill for us. I'm thinking of a time when it won't be necessary anymore - we can start ANYTIME NOW to re-think our warrior ways and cease this madness - how can one say they hate killing but support the killers? We desperately need alternatives to our problem-solving techniques before we actually start believing this garbage.