Forever Changed #15: We serve so you never fear an IED at the park

Right now we are under attack! Of course when you get this the attack will be history because I am starting this email a little early to get a jump on things I usually do on Monday. I am starting this email now because I am stuck in the chapel during what we call alarm red, translated that means we are under attack… again. There have been more recently, I guess they want to welcome us and see us off right, the insurgent way. I’ll tell you, I am about tired of it. I am about ready to go outside the wire and tell them about it too, in a noncombatant sort of way, of course. LOL Just kidding. But I wanted to go ahead and start this because the way I feel right now, inside, is why we are here. I am uptight, tense, and the sounds of explosions are not soothing me at all. But it is so worth it! For those of you who do not know, I am divorced, and I have a 2-year-old little girl who my heart aches for everyday. May she never hear the sounds I am hearing right now anywhere near her home, day care, church, favorite park, whatever. So many Iraqi’s fight for their freedom here, and they do so under constant threat to themselves and their family. How courageous are they? VERY.

Back in the 1980’s there was a movie called Red Dawn. It was about the big Russian invasion of America. And how a small band of high schoolers saved America after it was overrun. We all laughed at that, because we all knew that this was so out there, America could never be invaded or overrun. How silly… Then 9/11 happened and laughter turned to a public outcry for mourning and American response. We were going to bring all those to justice who knocked our towers down, who killed so many at the Pentagon, and in a field in Pennsylvania. The playground bully had come over to our part of the yard and knocked us right in the jaw. It hurt. But what I am afraid of is that too many of our people back home have forgotten about that day. They support us, but not the war. Are you kidding me? Let me tell you, every soldier, airman, marine, and sailor on this base that I talk to supports the war, even though it might cost them their life, it might cost them time with loved ones, comforts of home. We would not be here if we didn’t support our Commander in Chief and the nation’s doctrine.

The Army is breaking records with retention. The feeling I have right now is worth it, because I never want my little girl to hear these sounds and feel the way I feel right now. I never want any terrorist to take her innocence away. The things of war need to be fought here, not on our field. In the movie, The Patriot, Mel Gibson warns his neighbors of South Carolina that the war would not be fought on the frontier or some distant battlefield, it would be fought among them in their yards. To watch that movie and to see how that war affected his family and all those who were caught in the middle of it. May it never happen again, that the things of war be fought on our turf. We are here, your armed services, so that never will that have to happen. I know this is preaching to the choir. I know everyone who receives this supports what is going on. Thank you. Everyone in America needs to know that every one of us (deployed and those at home who will be deployed eventually) is proud to stand watch, to guard the night, to bring the battle to those who would bring it to us if we didn’t.

I want to stop really quick to say thank you. Thank you to those who came before me. Who fought on battlefields and oceans long before I was eligible to serve. Those who made a way for me to follow in a long tradition of honorable service. Especially those who at some point may have felt unappreciated and were protested against. Thank you.

At Langley there is an exercise going on to train those who will soon find themselves here. I was thankful that I read that our guys (the chapel) were superior performers. These are the high caliber of people I work with. The things we learn there do help prepare us. Of course, there are some things you have to learn in the field, but there is a good foundation set by the things done in the exercise. Sleep well tonight, work in your office and know that you do not need your body armor and weapon nearby, go to a park with your family and do not fear an IED or VBIED or a sniper in the bushes. That’s why we’re here. That’s why, it will always to be worth whatever we have to go through, whatever comforts we have to give up (even Taco Bell) so that you, our loved ones back home can sleep easy tonight, worship freely, and say whatever is on your mind on public radio. Your armed services will never quit. The terrorists cannot win. In the words of one Marine commander in the field, “Men, the enemy is in front of us, he is on our sides, and he is behind us, he cannot get away this time…”

An offer, if you would like, send a word to the troops, like our convoy guntruckers, for me to read before my convoy prayer. Send them to me; make them short. Something that I can share that is encouraging that lets them know the people back home are thinking about them.

Ok well, I am now finishing this. It is Thursday, and I just got back from Tallil. A great mission. Will see everyone soon!!!!!!

ABPnews will publish one entry a week from the journal then-Capt. Charles Seligman kept while deployed to Iraq as an Air Force chaplain in 2005. Now a major, Seligman currently serves as the deputy wing chaplain for the 59th Medical Wing at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. He is endorsed by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

 
You can read more of his story published September 11, 2013. You can also read older journal entries from Maj. Seligman. Watch a video documentary of the ER where Maj. Seligman served – he’s even in the video for a few seconds!

Chuck Seligman

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