Thursday, October 4, 2007


It's been a difficult couple of days for our family.

It all started with a phone call from Matt that went as follows.

I was about to sit down to dinner Tuesday evening when the phone rang.
I answered it and got the all to typical silence, with a soft click in the background.
Tele-marketers use these auto dialers to dial several numbers at a time, and they answer the ones that pick up first. The dialer hangs up on those who answer when the operator is on the phone with someone else.
The first thought that popped in to my head was, f---ing telemarketers, and I was about to hang up when I heard a muffled voice say hello. I responded in kind, and got, I can’t hear you very well can you hear me. It was Matt, and I could hear him quite plainly. Weird, as usually I have a terrible time hearing him, and the delay is terrible also.
We did the hello, I can’t hear you very well, I spoke up, and how about now, nope no better, then he said I’m ok. Your going to get a call from someone at battalion, I can’t hear you. I’ll call back, then click.
Does anyone know how long two to three minutes is?
It’s one long assed time, I can tell you that.
I waited with trembling hands, and tears welling in my eyes.
Real men don’t cry…..
I fought it back.
I didn’t want to scare my wife and other son.
After what felt like an eternity the phone rang again. And we started all over.
“Hello”, (me) “Hello”, (Matt) can you hear me”. “I can hear you fine, can you hear me”, “not very well”. I spoke up, “how about now”? “Nope”. “Are you alright”? A long silence, “yeah I’m alright”. He wasn’t very convincing.
“I wanted to get in-touch with you before brigade calls and over exaggerates what happened”.
“Ok. What happened”.
“We got blown up earlier tonight”. (Probably wasn’t a bad connection after all) “But we’re ok”.
I asked, “where are you”? “I don’t know”? “We’re north of where I told you we were last time”. “But I’m not sure of where exactly”.
And that’s the way it went.
He kept repeating that he was ok, but I could tell something was wrong.
The phone call from battalion never came.
I got an email from Matt this morning.
He and Webster, Nguyen, and Capt. Beatty were on patrol, it was Matt’s turn to drive. He and Webster are taking turns for the regular driver who is on leave. He remembers seeing a hole in the road and swerving to miss it. Then there was an explosion. He doesn’t know if it was in the hole, or on the side of the road, but it blew out two of the tires, and blew the exhaust cover off the top of the Stryker. They got thrown around some. He banged his head, and hurt his back, and where as they made him go to the aid station, this time, he thought it was protocol that we would be notified and he didn’t want us to worry. He said, “It happens more often than you know”. “But it’s not that big of a deal”. “I just didn’t want them calling, and exaggerating”.
I didn’t tell him, but we worry every day. We’re parents.
What else would we do.
I don’t worry much about him being killed in action.
I know that there's a chance that it might happen, but there’s nothing I can do about it.
If it does happen, I’ll deal with it then.
I worry more about what type of person he’ll be when he comes home.
Will he be one who can put it all in perspective and get on with his life?
Only time will tell.
Whatever happens we’ll go on loving and supporting him.
We’re parents.
What else can we do?

When I realy start feeling bad for myself, I think about these guys.

Then I remind myself that I don't have it all that bad.?

When I feel like I can't deal with one more problem.

I remember how much worse it could be.

The next time you see a man or woman in uniform just walk up and say thank you.
It's not easy. I get emotional every time.
But think how difficult it is for them to do what they do.

They will appreciate it.

Before I close, I have a bitch.
Have you heard Toby Keith’s song, I’m Already There? I think that’s the name, or Lay Me Down.
Anyway, I’d like to see everyone boycott this ballad.
What right does Toby Keith have writing a song about a soldier dieing in Iraq.
I seriously doubt that he ever served in the military.
This song has a lovely melody to it, but a terrible message.
It’s a shameless, selfish commercial ploy to play on the heartstrings of country music listeners all for the mighty buck.
There is no glory, or appreciation for what soldiers do, or how they die involved.
Only a story of a soldier who dies in Iraq talking to his mother, father, and pregnant wife.
How does Toby Keith know what a soldier in Iraq feels.
I turn the radio off every time the song comes on.
I am in the process of writing a letter to Mr. Keith explaining how this song makes one father feel.
I can only imagine that there are many other moms and dads that feel the same.
Am I being too sensitive?
Drop me a line and let me know what you think.


  1. For what it's worth, I'm with ya !

  2. ...and what do you expect from a ?guy named toby?

  3. and yeah, contact him and tell him I think he's a sorry sonofabitch !!!

    what does a heart attack feel like?...

  4. Dad,

    First: I'm glad Matt's OK. I have his name and address taped to my computer screen so I think of him often.

    Second: We are the one percenters. Unless you are part of this group, you don't know how we feel. Anyone trying to make a buck off our backs is an ignorant SOB. You are not being too sensitive.

  5. Buck up, Dad. Your son is gonna be fine. I can feel it in my bones and, my bones don't lie; trust me: been there... done that.

    As for Toby Keith: I, too, disagree with most of these die hard, patriots who haven't done it, but like to sing about it. Actually, I'm on the other side... with the Dixie Chicks. However, Toby has been to the war zone on more than one occasion and he has done a lot of stuff for the troops and their morale, and for that, I have to salute him; he's really a supporter of them and their cause. I would concentrate more on disliking the message, but in this case, not the messenger. If you think I'm wrong, maybe you should ask your boy how he feels about it, and then stand by his side; he needs your support and I know you're there for him; I'm supporting him too, even though I sure as hell disagree with the rest of it and I'll be glad when he and ALL our kids are back here, where they damned well belong.

  6. I am so glad your son is ok. What a scare though. Been there with the hubby....

    As far as Toby Keith, I agree with Mohawk Chieftan. Also, his dad served and was maimed ( I believe he lost one of his eyes). It was on one of those 20/20 or Primetime specials a few years ago.

    I know how hard it is to feel that anyone outside the military circle can understand any of what you go through. It is super hard stuff to deal with emotionally. It took a few years for mys husband and I both to adjust after he got out. Sometimes you just want to bitch slap the idiots that have no idea what its really like.

    I'm sure you son will be fine as well. When is he scheduled to come home?

    God Bless...

  7. well, I'm with the chief too, so there's my vote.

    I will say there are two ways to look at the situation (haven't heard the song btw) a) they're just making a buck off the soldier's back b) they're bringing a greater number of people into an awareness of just what each soldier puts on the line thereby hoping to increase respect for their (your) sacrifice.

    I would however encourage you to contact toby and let him know your feelings. It does strike me like when a well-meaning person tells someone who's lost a baby "don't worry, you'll have another" folks just don't understand how that's
    NOT a nice thing to say till they've been told.

    so tell em!

  8. OH, hey, I don't know if you ever go here
    but you might like his latest post....

  9. Thank you to all for your support, and kind words.
    It's real late here. I just finished watching the Red Sox win game two of the ALDS in dramatic fashion, and wasn't tired so I figured I'd check my email.
    I was overwhelmed by the messages from friends and family.
    Sorry for slamming Toby, for you fans.
    I probably should have done some research before running my yap.
    I just can't stand to listen to that song.
    It just seems to be so designed to play on the sympathy of the public.
    If it was based on a real letter home, by a real soldier who wrote it in the event that he didn't come home, I guess I could live with it.
    Maybe it was. I guess I have to do a little research.
    I know first hand that when a soldier goes to a combat unit he is required to write a letter to his family, and anyone else he wants to, and to write a will etc.
    So maybe it was a letter that someone shared with him?
    I just find it terribly un-nerving.
    Again, I can’t thank all of you enough for the kind words.

    Mark, I can’t wait for the day when we can say we had a son serving in Iraq, and the time when there are no families with loved ones in that god forsaken part of the world.

  10. Well, I probably over-reacted. I don't listen much to the radio much these days.

    Dad, I got outed on the photo I sent. Gayle didn't know about it or the sniper incident either. I think Mark and I agreed to keep it secret...But what the heck...we are a month out.

  11. Mark,
    Your secret is safe with me.
    I never make specific comments about individuals, or post pictures that others send me without their consent.

  12. Ever gone on YOUTUBE and done a search for the Dixie Chicks and their Travelin' Soldier video or any of their renditions of our National Anthem? I find them an alternative to Toby.

  13. Chief;
    I haven’t.
    But I will.
    I like the Dixie Chicks.
    Natalie and I have a couple of things in common.
    Neither of us likes George Bush.
    And both of us speak our mind..
    Hate me if you want is my motto.
    If I’ve got something to say you’re going to hear it.
    BTW, I made a big mistake for which I’m presently writing an apology.

    “If You’re Reading This” was performed by Tim McGraw, not Toby Keith.
    I knew that, I just blew it.
    I’m glad, because I like Toby Keith the man.
    While I like some of Tim McGraw’s songs, I think he rode his wife’s coat tails to fame.
    Nuf said.
    Have a wonderful day.