My only request for anyone receiving this petition--- please read it. I've always shot straight from the hip and will gain nothing at all by writing this, except the knowledge that I truly believe it is the right thing to do. I am so proud to have been born an American and very grateful to the thousands of young men and women who, without hesitation, choose to do everything in their power, including sacrifice their lives to ensure the freedoms that I enjoy today. I'm one of the lucky ones; I never had to endure the horrors of war, as I%u2019m sure most of you never have. My Dad's only statement about WW II was, " It was a debt we owed, we weren't hero's and we were scared, but family and country was all we had and whatever it took, we would protect what we had."
Vietnam was a wake-up call; a 17-year-old girl could have done without. By the time I was 18, I'd lost 5 classmates, including my first cousin who was also my best friend. Then my only brother joined the Navy. My brother did make it home, but so many didn't, and those that did were not quite the same. Desert Storm rolled around in the early nineties, and I had to watch my little boy get on an airplane so they could teach him to fight in the desert,. I finally understood what my Dad had meant. However, as proud as I was of my son, I was not ready to make that sacrifice. ,I'd have swapped with him in a heartbeat. I just wanted to protect him and all I could do was watch that airplane disappear. That was the most hopeless and helpless feeling anyone can know. When my son returned I thought never again would I have to worry about war taking a loved one. How wrong I was. Now, we have our young people fighting a war against a group of terrorist who consider suicide bombs and flying airplanes into office buildings a tribute to their god. Everyday I think of those working class people holding hands and jumping to their deaths to keep from being burned alive. I think of the innocent people who have been decapitated, their heads placed on sticks and paraded up and down the streets. These people weren't soldiers, they were reporters, missionaries, blue-collar workers%u2019, all Americans must die. More recent, we can add a couple of soldiers to the list, Pfc. Manchaca and Pfc. Tucker did not die like most soldiers, Terrorist tortured these young men (ages 21 & 23) for hours, then mutilated them so badly they could only be identified through DNA. What about the parents of these young men. They would have welcomed the dreaded "We regret to inform you" letter, but instead they received the news via the media. Watching terrorist rejoice as they described the details of how they had slowly cut off body parts and re attached them in other places, taking skin off a little at a time, parents should never have to know the unbearable pain their child had to endure. All in the name of God! What god is this?
It's almost impossible to come out the victor with our soldiers so severely handicapped. They need to overcome the fact they were born and raised in the USA. The reason being, our young troops, just like you and I, were taught to obey the rules, do it by the book. There is no honor in winning any other way. Terrorist have no rules, they never have, they only know hate. Our soldiers are trying so hard as possible to do the very best job they can and still stay alive. These soldiers volunteered for this job, for no other reason than love of family and country, [they are my Dad and my brother and my son] and they do not want to be heroes, just proud Americans, they want to come home, raise their families and live the American Dream, they need us to be proud of them, they need to know that although we may not approve of this war, we do approve of them. Is that too much to ask? They are young, they are scared and already they've seen more than I can imagine. They don't want to die, and so many already have, how many killed by fair play. How do you defeat pure evil with fair play? Still they try, they have to, they're Proud American Soldiers and they belong to me---and you---and yes, even to the politicians who saw fit to send them into this hell while they sit safe and smug on their ivory tower.
I know each one of you have been reading everything you can concern eight of our young men. [Names, hometown, marital status, number of children if possible and age] Their honors as well as their lives are in jeopardy. If anyone is familiar with Sailors or Marines, then you know that both believe without honor, there is no life, only existence. Without honor, they wouldn%u2019t be any different than the evil they're fighting. These eight young men--- my sons--- your sons---, America's sons--- have been accused of crimes that are grossly exaggerated and circumstantial at best and personally,. Regardless of what is being said, they are my soldiers and I intend to support them every step of the way. How ironic it is for these young men to offer their lives freely for a country they love and believe in, only to be told by this same country they may be executed because we have reason to believe the rules were broken. Did they do wrong? I really don't know. If they did, will I still support them? How little it is that I do, to deserve the gifts these veterans dealing with so much hardship and pain have bestowed on me. My support is a small price to pay for preserving my freedom. How very little they ask in return. Were they scared of dying in that God forsaken desert?
Death, I'm sure, didn't compare to the fear of being captured. Is it conceivable that these eight young men just jumped up and said, "Let's go find a house and drag somebody out so we'll have something to shoot at? How logical does that sound to you? What would they gain by doing something like this? Let's compare that to what their families and themselves have already lost just by the accusations. If all charges were dropped today these young men will still have to spend the rest of their lives with some empty headed people pointing fingers at them. Even if they win, they lose. I, for one, refuse to sacrifice my soldiers just so a few power hungry higher-ups or the ladder-climbing politicians can try to convince a handful of people how very noble they are by ending this travesty. The bottom line is---war is war---people die---good people and bad. I'm sure most of us agree on one thing, its time gets this over with and bring our children home. We have the ability to flush the terrorist out and bring them to justice. Let us all stand together and tell the world,"We're not going to bury anymore of our children." They are our future; they are the most precious assets we have, look at what we've lost already.
I hope you think about my words, I do not profess to be an eloquent writer. If you can, picture a wrinkled up little old man, tears welling in his eyes as he watches his flag wave. Ask him what these eight soldiers represent. I'm sure he would not hesitate as he answered---Everything. Please, take the time to look into your hearts. Look into your children and grandchildren's faces tonight while they sleep and remember all the veterans responsible for making life, as we know it possible. Then walk in the boots of these eight frightened young soldiers and ask yourself what you would have done. Then pray to any god you choose to worship, because in America, we can do that, and ask your God to please never make your children or grandchildren have to make a decision like that. How true it is, %u2018'But, for the grace of God, go I." We all have eight proud young men that I can only imagine how empty and betrayed and terribly alone they must feel. They need us, they need our support, we have to let them know all they've been through means something to us, that the purple hearts they've earned are not just decoration, our soldiers have always been there for us, always, now it's our turn to be there for them. We are a nation that loves our children unconditionally, Please don't let them down. Your signature means so much now. They are all of our sons. .
Steven W. Polk (USMC) Vet