"...Because the Noblest of Ideas Have Always Been Protected By Warriors"

Maj. Ronnie Doud, 47th Contracting Squadron commander

Maj. Ronnie Doud, 47th Contracting Squadron commander

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Before departing for his tour in Iraq, my little brother, an Army Reservist asked, "Would you...if something goes wrong, make sure my son understands why it had to be?" As a dutiful brother I agreed, but I had no clue what I would tell my 8-year-old nephew. Then, I remembered the dedication from "The Sum of All Fears" by Tom Clancy, "For...all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, because the noblest of ideas have always been protected by warriors."

Throughout America's 229-year history, these words have rung true and not just within our own borders. On numerous occasions, Americans have stepped up to defend freedom, liberty, and justice on foreign soils, because these ideas are important to us and, I will argue, important to the vast majority of the world. However, this is not without historical precedent. During the birth of our beloved America, France came to our aid against the British...not only with money and supplies but also with the lives of their soldiers.

Despite what you might hear or read, individuals across the globe admire and respect our efforts, to include our former enemies. Some years ago while shopping at a market in Germany, a German gentleman struck up a conversation with my wife and I. We discussed local eateries and festivals. He spoke of his military service in World War II as a soldier in the German Army. Lightheartedly, I told him I had an uncle back home who had probably shot at him a couple of times. Later, as we parted company he said, "When next you see your uncle, tell him I said I have the utmost respect for him...you Americans always do what's right."

Years later, in Bosnia I was talking to a Bosnian contractor about his infant daughter. Being his first and only child, he glowed with pride as he pulled pictures from his wallet and passed it around. Someone commented out loud, "Yes, one day she'll be the President of Bosnia." The father's beaming face went serious in an instant. With a heavy heart he said, "I wish America would change its laws so she could be President of the United States." My words are incapable of describing the longing this man had, to give his daughter what many of us receive simply by being born... the title "American."

Iraq held two very important elections this the past year. Amazing considering the electoral process was alien to the country for years. As of writing this, 3,006 American men and women have given the ultimate sacrifice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and many continue to ask why? It's the same reason Cody's dad, my brother, and so many more are standing a post in some distant land...because...the noblest of ideas have always been, and always will be, protected by warriors just like you! Thank you!