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I want to tell y'all about my old classmate Ray. Ray was our star athlete in football, basketball, and track. He led all three teams to state championships. He was a good guy, smart, kind, a friend to everyone. He was recruited for the US Army after high school. He immediately left after basic to the Gulf War. The first one. He served his country and decided that he was good at being a military man. He married a beautiful woman and they started a family, they traveled back and forth from the US to Germany to the Middle East for the next 15 years. He was made a captain and his men loved him.

Ray specialized in the worst job there is in modern warfare: he was the leader of an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team . If you've seen The Hurt Locker, that's what he did. He has been blown up three times. This last time he didn't walk away. Now, he wasn't killed, he just couldn't walk away from it. He has literally had every single bone in his body - from his skull to his toes - broken. He has pins in his limbs and pins holding his ribs in place. He is confined to a wheelchair most of the time because it's incredibly painful and difficult for him to walk. (He still tries because he's that guy. He's impressive, to say the least.) He was forced into retirement when his rehabilitation wasn't going anywhere. He didn't want to leave his men. He was given a mission, and he hadn't accomplished it yet.

His mission was to clear the way for elite troops to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. The first thing I did this morning was thank him for making it possible, because even though he's been stateside for a year, he's a part of this. And make no mistake: I think of it as a victory. A dangerous man that killed Ray's men (and 5,885 of our soldiers, not to mention the 276 British troops, 153 Canadians, etc.) was stopped from hurting anymore people. This will not end al-Quaeda but this will go a long way into defusing their power.

I am not dancing in the streets because a life was ended. I'm bursting with pride for those amazing 22 men of the SEALs that made a precise strike and took out the key element to this stupid war. I do not feel bad for one ounce of emotion I'm carrying. I know we all want to be thoughtful, non-violent people, but a rabid dog was put down and we're a little safer for it. I will not apologize for smiling and pumping my fist in the air at the news.

Every person that puts their life on the line for their country has made an amazing sacrifice - one that the vast majority of us will never do. I, for one, am grateful for that and will not split hairs to decide the level of satisfaction/thoughtfulness that should be considered appropriate today. Feel what you feel. And thank a serviceman/woman for knowing they could have ended up like Ray (or dead) for trying to keep people safe from madmen.


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 2nd, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
I really like this post. It's a perfect counterpoint to many posts today I've seen that armchair theorize about what "should" have been done from people with no direct military knowledge or experience.
May. 2nd, 2011 06:02 pm (UTC)
It's been really upsetting to me. I have military in my family - my stepfather was in Delta force in Vietnam. Talk about being demonized...

I am not ashamed to be glad OBL is gone.
May. 2nd, 2011 06:07 pm (UTC)
**claps** Perfectly put!
May. 2nd, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
After reading my facebook and twitter feed I just felt like I was the only one seeing it this way. Putting a different viewpoint out there, that's all. :)
May. 2nd, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC)
Oh, I have friends that are/were in Intelligence. Not as immediately dangerous as your friend's job, to be sure, but I am proud as hell of the work they did to lay the groundwork for this. I completely get where you are coming from.

May. 2nd, 2011 06:32 pm (UTC)
Every single person in the military is a part of this and deserves a high five from the likes of us, as far as I'm concerned. I'm not pro-war, but I'm definitely pro-military.
May. 2nd, 2011 06:36 pm (UTC)
Yup, I loves our guys and gals. I mean, how much more awesome can they be, being willing to lay everything on the line for me, who the vast majority have never met. They humble me.
May. 2nd, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Stoney.

I wish wars weren't necessary, but God damn, am I PROUD of our military.

Signed -

Military brat
May. 2nd, 2011 06:53 pm (UTC)
Co-signed -
Another Military Brat. And a proud one.

Thanks Stoney - that post was beautifully put.
May. 2nd, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC)
I too wish wars weren't necessary. And yes - the military deserves our support, absolutely.
May. 2nd, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)

I love this post. Our men and women in uniform have been fighting a long time, and have been deserving of our gratitude and respect for years now. This accomplishment just brings it all home. I'm not sorry Bin Laden is dead - he was evil. I'm less thrilled than grateful and relieved that such a mass murderer is gone. All those involved should be proud of what they've achieved here, especially those who've lost loved ones to this war.

May. 2nd, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC)
I think about how long this particular group of armed forces has been out fighting, and for some it's nine full years. That's the longest of any group, I think. And they've volunteered for this to boot.

I'm not sorry bin Laden is dead, either.
May. 2nd, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

I went to nursery school in Saigon when my dad was on his second tour -- before being evacuated. There are so many aspects to every military story: not just the injuries and deaths, but the sadness of separation from family and the issues with reintegration into the family after the war.

Your friend Ray sounds like a brave man, and he deserves every honor we can give him.

I did not fist pump today. I think a trial, had one been possible, would have been better for the world -- lancing the boil of extremism more effectively. However, I hope and believe this will be the beginning of the end for Al-Qaeda and that soon more of our troops will be home with those who love them.
May. 2nd, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
Ooooh, I do NOT think a trial would have been good at all. That would just give him a heightened sense of importance among the fanatics and hundreds of lives would be in imminent danger where ever he was housed and tried.

I, too, hope for our troops to be sent home for good - and with the supportive services they so clearly deserve.
May. 2nd, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
I agree with your post as a whole, however this

"I know we all want to be thoughtful, non-violent people, but a rabid dog was put down and we're a little safer for it"

I don't believe to be true. If anything, we just opened ourselves up for an attack of which we've probably never seen because we put the rabid dog down. This whole ordeal just makes me really, really uneasy. It also makes me really, really sad that the only thing this country can unite over is the loss of human life.. Not even just with Osama, but the lives that were lost in the tornadoes, Katrina, 9/11.

May. 2nd, 2011 11:21 pm (UTC)
Well, we'll just have to accept that we totally and completely disagree on that point. I think the wind was taken from their sails. Is it over with them? No. But their leader is gone, along with some of his right hand men, and that's a huge plus.

But my two cents, your two cents, etc.
May. 2nd, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
I totally agree that we're safer, I'm just a nervous nelly and am always paranoid about things like that. Also, I live in MA and a LOT of his family lives here and the planes that hit the towers on 9/11 left from here, so I'm probably more scared/nervous than I should be.
May. 3rd, 2011 12:19 am (UTC)
I completely support your right to nervous-nellydom. I'm just Ms Half Full. Together we make perfection. :)
May. 2nd, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC)
I <3 my President, Stoney.
May. 2nd, 2011 11:20 pm (UTC)
ME, TOO. I love him.
May. 3rd, 2011 12:21 am (UTC)
Thanks for this post. I'm not happy about any of it, I wish things were different, but that's just my fantasy about how I would like the world to be. They did what they had to do here, and they did it perfectly. I'm so proud of them and of Obama.

I hope Donald Trump and the idiot "birthers" are feeling very very small right now. (But I'm afraid that's another fantasy.)

May. 3rd, 2011 12:38 am (UTC)
I'm super proud of how they handled this - talk about needing to have a precision strike!

(I too share in that fantasy. We can always hope...)
May. 3rd, 2011 12:26 am (UTC)
I didn't fistpump -- I think "deep and abiding grim satisfaction" covers it -- but I also don't want to cast stones at people who do. Because if your husband/father/girlfriend/son/daughter is not here now, either directly or indirectly because of this man, or has suffered as your friend has, and it makes you feel better, then you pump that fist as hard and as fast as you want.

And that really shouldn't sound dirty, dammit. Not the vibe I was going for at all.

You're right, he was evil, and he inspired evil in the world. I'm not sorry he's gone.

May. 3rd, 2011 12:39 am (UTC)
That's a pretty damn reasonable response you had, right there.

ANd lol, I didn't take it dirty. :)
(Deleted comment)
May. 3rd, 2011 03:09 am (UTC)
May. 3rd, 2011 04:56 am (UTC)
Amusingly enough, the announcement coincided with the death of Hitler too.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )


Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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