10:11 PM

Friday's With Ferris

Posted by Skye |

In this edition of Friday's With Ferris, Kevin shares a letter from a solider in a time of war, stationed in Vietnam. First Lt. John F. Cochrane writes home to his parents discussing his thoughts on the eve of battle. Lyndon Johnson read this letter at the White House Christmas Tree lighting ceremony later that year.

Oct. 15, 1966

"Here I sit, so afraid that my stomach is a solid knot, yet laughing, joking, kidding around with the 18 troops with me - and even writing a letter to the folks back home as if I haven't a care in the world. What I really want to do is load up these men . . . and get out of here. I don't belong here. Neither do these men. This isn't our war. . . . It doesn't make sense. I refuse to believe God created a human being, let him live for 20 years on this Earth just to send him to some foreign land to die. . . .

"I have offered every excuse in the book, but I know why I am here and why I couldn't be any other place. The reason is because I do believe we should be here and I do believe that . . . basic principles are enough for a man to die for. . . . We are here because we actually believe that our country is good enough to fight, and even if necessary, die for. All we ask is that some good come out of it. . . .

Flash forward to 2005 - Another soldier in a time of war, stationed in Iraq, sends an email to his family prior to leaving for a mission:

Anbar, Iraq November 3, 2005

Dear friends and family,

If you are getting this email, it means that I have passed away. No, it's not a sick Toz joke, but a letter I wanted to write in case this happened. Please don't be sad for me. It was an honor to serve my country, and I wouldn't change a thing. It was just my time.
Don't ever think that you are defending me by slamming the Global War on Terrorism or the US goals in that war. As far as I am concerned, we can send guys like me to go after them or we can wait for them to come back to us again. I died doing something I believed in and have no regrets except that I couldn't do more.
This will probably be the longest email most of you have ever received from me. More that one of you complained on multiple occasions about my brief emails. I have requested to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery and would like you to attend, but I understand if you can't make it.

Many opponents of OIF favor comparing Iraq to Vietnam, in someways I believe that there is a similarity. The letters from these soldiers, decades apart, reveal exactly the same belief in their mission and their country. With the wisdom to learn from past mistakes, let us not share the same ending as Vietnam. As revealed in these letters, it would be contrary to the beliefs of soldiers then and now.

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