Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

Sunday's Opelika-Auburn news included a listing and a description of WWII veterans who live in Auburn (part 1 and part 2). Looking at the list was like looking at a list of Who's Who for Auburn University and the cities of Auburn and Opelika. These men and one woman (Ann Barr who is known for her leadership in 4-H) served in WWII and then became leaders in our town.

Today, we pause to reflect on the sacrifices that our service men and women have made. I am so very grateful for their service.

I am also reminded of the many sacrifices that men and women are currently making to serve our country. My brother served in Iraq for a year (late 2004-late 2005). For now, we are thankful that he is living with his family on their blueberry farm and serving the guard full-time in Alabama.

When he was in Iraq, he would hurriedly write emails as there was always someone waiting to read and send emails when he finished with the computer. Below is one of his emails he sent us that demonstrates the sacrifices that our armed forces and the Iraqi police face everyday.

(2005) Yesterday, Tuesday morning, our Civil Affairs section had a convoy to the local city. They were going to survey a site for a new school. The rear gunner, who man's a .50 caliber machine gun, (a very large weapon capable of shooting through a truck engine) radioed forward that a car was approaching fast from the rear. Our convoys travel at about 60 to 70 miles per hour on the open road. So this car was really moving.

The standing operation procedure (SOP) is to fire on any vehicle that is displaying overly aggressive behavior. The gunner did not fire. The Lieutenant in charge of the convoy did not give the order to fire. He saw that the car was a new car and something told him this was not what it seemed. Instead he pulled the convoy over.

Inside the car was an Iraqi policeman. The police man pointed at a bridge ahead and said "R.P.G. boom, boom". About that time the front gunner who mans a squad automatic weapon (SAW) radioed back that there were men around the bridge with rocket propelled grenades (RPG)and light machine guns. The convoy had stopped about 300 meters out. The range of an RPG is about 250 meters.

The Iraqi policeman had spotted the militia setting up the ambush and had turned around to leave the area. He met our convoy, turned around again and caught our convoy to warn them about the ambush. He knows our SOP and knew that he could have been killed by us trying to warn us. He knows that someone in the militia knows where he lives and may try to kill him and his family for warning us.

Tonight is Prayer Meeting in many churches, please add him to your prayers. Please pray for this man's safety, family and soul and thank God for this man. Some Alabama National Guardsmen owe him their lives.

Say a prayer or a thought for the Alabama guardsman who made the decision not to shot. He saved the Iraqi policeman who saved the convoy. And of course, a prayer and a thought for the Iraqi policeman.

To the families of fallen soldiers, please know our gratitude. To soldiers who are currently serving our country, thank you.

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