There are some in this country that would choose to pass judgment on our military members. They would call them murderers, war-mongers, or any number of hateful things. For those of you who choose this path, I would request two things from you before you pass judgment. The first, and the easiest would be to write a letter to a military member's family explaining that they won't be coming home. Although this is not an easy task, it is much easier then the next. I would then ask you to write an "In case of my death" letter to your own family.
What is an "In case of my death" letter you ask? Put simply, it is your last chance to say goodbye to your family, if you are unable to return from war. Generally, the letter is given to a fellow military member with instructions to mail, or hand deliver the letter, should anything happen to you. Although not everyone has a letter like this, many military members do. It is the hardest thing to write because nothing you say can take away the hurt that is caused by your death.
I am currently in the process of preparing to go overseas for a year. Although I will see my family a couple times, I will not officially be home until Christmas time of 2010. The following is my "In case of my death" letter to my family.
Note: Due to the sensitive nature of this subject, I will not be allowing negative comments on this post. Call it censorship, call it communism, I don't care. This is my letter, to my family, and I will not let it turn into someone's political grandstanding. Also, the goal of this is not to make anyone feel sorry for me. I have made my choices, and I have been blessed with a wife who has chosen to stick with me through whatever comes our way. We(the military members) don't want your pity, or your sympathy. All we ask is that you don't pass judgment on us because you disagree with what we do.
Without further ado.....
If you are reading this, then my time has come. As much as I wish I could, I will not be returning home this time. I know that I told you I would return home to you as soon as I could, but unfortunately, I won't be able to. I know that you are going to be angry. It is to be expected, and I wouldn't want anything else. However, please don't let that anger consume you. You are an amazing person, and when that anger passes, there are a few things I want you to know.
I could not have asked for a better wife. You have been my rock through some of the hardest times of my life. You have been my confidant, my soul mate, and my best friend. You have given me two beautiful boys, and have given me the happiest 4+ years of my life. There has not been a day that has gone by that I haven't missed your touch. Throughout everything we have been through, there was always one person I could lean on, You. You are, without a doubt, the one thing that has kept me going when I felt like quitting.
As the days come and go, the reality of my passing is going to sink in. All I ask is that you remember to stay strong for the boys. They need you now more then ever. As they grow up into young men, I know you will raise them to be respectful, humble, and responsible. I only ask that you never let them forget me. When they become old enough, and start asking the Why's, I want you to tell them that Daddy believed in what he was doing. I know this answer will not bring closure, nor relief from the pain, but it is all I can offer up.
Finally, I know there will come a time when you may meet someone else. As hard as this is for me to write, I want you to move on. Obviously not right away, but I believe that you will know when the time is right. I don't ever want you to feel like you have something to prove to me. You have devoted 4 years to me and the boys, and if I am unable to return and spend the rest of my life with you, I want you to be with someone who can. I know that moving on is the furthest thing from your mind right now, but know that when the time comes, I expect you to do what your heart tells you to.
Although I am devastated that I can not return home to you and the boys, I hope you know that I die a happy man. These 4 years that we have spent together are more then most people get. The love that we shared was a picture of perfection. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be lucky enough to experience the sheer tranquility and happiness that you brought into my life.
I will see you again and my love for you will not falter,
I will always love you