For this day in which many of us in will go to the voting booths to decide who our country's next president will be, I would like to share with all of you the words of a few of your fellow LiveJournalers who have served in Iraq. "I spent about two hours cleaning and inspecting my three main weapon systems, a M2 HB .50cal machinegun, a M-4 carbine, and an M-9 pistol so that I may face the enemies you all have placed me in proximity of . . . All this scares the shit out of me. I've never been shot at...or blown up...or done the shooting and blowing up. And i want you to know that I'm disappointed that you have sent me here. Thanks. But not really. I'm not the first trooper you've sent to do your dirty work . . . I'm trying to calm my hands, shaking all palsy-like. And so i clean. I prepare. I shower. I write. I'll meditate. Any suggestions? No, I can't go to the driving range. I don't think I'm the first soldier to be nervously twitchy about doing what I've agreed to do. And I hope it doesn't stop really. And I hope there are others like me. And I hope you understand that war needs people like me...who can't dehumanize your enemy. I hope you want me here. But not really."
- Thomas Strickland, aka rev_wayfarer
. Thomas was a poet who wanted to become an English teacher one day. He was also an LJ friend of mine. He died in Al Mahmudiyah, Iraq, August 15, 2005
. Thomas lived in Douglasville, Georgia and served as part of the Georgia Army National Guard’s 48th Brigade Combat Team. He was 28 years old.wolfmoon98
a.k.a Mike Smith wrote: "This is a run down of whats happened to me personally since i've been here.
a. been the victim of 3 roadside bombs (IED's) but haven't been injured in any of them.
b. been in 8 firefights. i was shot in one of them, but it only went through my cargo pocket, didn't hit my body.
c. been mortared more times than i can count. our unit is the most heavily mortared unit since the start of the war. but we've had no casulties from them, except for some vehicle damage.
d. i've been in more iraqi homes than i can count, and the people seem nice, some of the time. i've had lunch with one family, and i've detained another"
"so i think i might have made a mistake. too many things have entered my mind recently. i don't know if it's because i've been in 3-4 fire-fights, but i'm realizing some things. i'm not going to go into it, but if you must know, ask and i'll say what i can. i don't even know what i'm thinking anymore. i'm just taking this one day at a time, one mission at a time. this place sucks. . . i've been thinking a lot lately . . . i know i've always said i don't regret anything i've done in my life, but i think i found one."
- Mike Smith, 24, of Media, Pennsylvania died January 11th, 2005 in Ar Ramadi, Iraq
, when his military vehicle was hit by a rocket propelled grenade. Smith was assigned to 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division.
And this, from Adam Estep, a.k.a. adeptus13
"God, I want out of here. I feel like I'm an animal, and I could claw my way out, if need be. Yet I know I couldn't.
She needed me the other day - I was able to miraculously call, but I know that I really should have been there. She let something slip just then.. something.... valuable. But it seems to me today that yet again, I have no pull.
One day, perhaps." Adam Estep was born in Santa Clara, California, and dreamed of starting a family with his new bride, Demara, who he married before he shipped out. He looked forward to going to college and becoming a professional artist. A 23-year-old tank driver, he was supposed to come home on April 12, 2004. Instead, his tour was extended. Adam Estep died on April 30th, 2004
in a rocket-propelled grenade attack outside of Baghdad.
Please take a moment to honor these three members of our community and remember their friends and families who are, in many cases, amongst us, and who are amongst the hundreds of thousands of people who have been effected by this conflict.
Tom, Mike, and Adam are unable to vote today, but I'm quite certain they would want any of you who could vote to do so in their place.