On October 11th, 2000 I received this letter from a soldier/veteran thanking me for putting my thoughts on paper about war and how it affects lives, and to tell me about his life as a soldier, what it meant to him to serve his country and how he feels about his children possibly be forced to someday see the things he has seen. This letter says better than I ever could how taking part in a war and being a soldier serving your country makes a person feel inside. The first part of the letter, which I am posting here with permission, may not be relevant to everyone but it truly does explain how it feels inside for a soldier to suddenly find himself of no further use to his country, how important it was to him to do his duty and how he worries about his children someday having to live through what he has lived through. I asked if I could post it so that children of other soldiers/veterans could read it directly from a soldier/veteran/father and maybe understand a little better what their dad thinks and feels.
"Subject: Thank You
I want to think you for putting your thoughts on paper. Your thoughts
mean a lot to me because I am an old solider myself.
I have been in the U.S. Army for the last 16 1/2 years as an Explosive
Ordnance Disposal Tech. Yes, the bomb squad! I have been in 32 different
countries both disarming bombs and other dangers items. But one of my mane
jobs has been to protect the President, Vice-president and other dignitaries.
With all that I have done to protect my country I am being pushed aside
like an old shoe. See I broke my neck last year and now the Army has no use
for me. I understand the Army's point of view it is just hart braking after
all this time.
But what do I tell my children? I have 4 children 3 girls and 1 boy. He
is the one that bothers me the most. How does a farther tell his only son
that he was put out of the Army after putting his life on the line so many
times for his country? He is just 3 now and I guess I do have a little time
to prepare for this day. I am lucky in one fact, my 2 oldest girls are old
enough to understand. They have been there when daddy gets the phone call
during play time and has to leave and the not knowing if he is coming back.
I am sorry, I did not mean to go on like I did. I just wanted to think
you. Because I have seen the things a soldier should not ever have to
explain to his children, and I wish my children should not see these things.
I want these nightmares be mine not theirs.
SFC William E. Sutherland
Fort Polk, Louisiana"