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American Warrior Patriots

  • I posted this as a reply on a thread called Navy SEAL Museum, but wanted to save it here for I feel in the extreme when it comes to this.

    “Matthew Axelson, 29, was one of four Navy SEALs taking part in Operation Red Wing, a secret mission in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, to capture or kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shah, head of an insurgent group known as the “Mountain Tigers.”
    The SEAL unit was betrayed to the Taliban, which attacked with a force of more than 40 men. Only one SEAL, Marcus Luttrell, survived. The team leader, Lt. Michael Murphy, won the Medal of Honor, Axelson, Luttrell and Danny Dietz were awarded the Navy Cross, the second-highest Navy combat award.
    Luttrell was saved by friendly tribal leaders, who told the Americans where they were hiding him from the Taliban. The effort to rescue Luttrell and the other three became the largest rescue operation conducted since Vietnam. Nineteen Americans were killed, one wounded and a Chinook helicopter was shot down during the search, rescue and recovery operation.
    It was 10 days of dangerous searching before Axelson’s body was found almost a mile from the original battle site. The site was 7,500 feet up in the mountains, posing a problem for fuel and weight. The crew refused to leave the area until they found Axelson, and to continue the search, they stripped the helicopters of weapons, ammunition, armor plate, even their own body armor, said Col. Kurt Matthews, who was pilot on the mission.
    Eventually, tribesmen brought them to where Axelson had died. Tech. Sgt. Dan Murray, a para-rescue man, went out and brought Axelson’s body in. The men told the Axelsons that before their son’s body was flown out of Afghanistan, they pinned an American flag they had carried to his body bag, which was then carried to a waiting plane through military men and women standing shoulder-to-shoulder along a mile of roadway at the air base.”
     
    Who, except for the American, understands what it is that these men did? It’s been said that the English fight for the queen, Russians for the motherland, Germans for the fatherland, Japs for the emperor, and of course you all know that many in this world fight for their god-o-the-day. Then the saying goes that “ But, Americans fight for souvenirs”.
     
    I’ve often thought about this saying. I’ve professed it, in jest, many times when someone see’s some blood stained leaves I have pinned behind a glass frame with a souvenir of my own. It may be that this saying was really coined by someone who was unable to understand the American in battle, in life, in brotherhood. Someone who looks at the “freedom isn’t free” bumper sticker as just a political statement that goes against the ideals they are free to pursue because of the American patriot.
     
    Americans fight for each other, that other human being facing the abyss with you. The ones who trained hard, not for themselves. They trained because they didn’t want to let each other down. Because they said “this is what I want to do” and to do that you have to be trusted by the others that do this so they will know that you will not let them down because they will not let you down when you have voluntarily navigated the gauntlet to get to wear the Beret, or Trident, or CIB or SAR badge or whatever designates you as someone who will step into it so others may live.
               
    You see the difference when you see the radical hide amongst women and children to shield themselves from hostile fire, versus the 19 who perished to bring home their brother’s remains. You see it when you see the uniform on the foreign leader who has never done anything other than pin on his insignia and wave to the crowd. In my mind the God’s of War are waiting for him with baited breath to smite his soul with that which is deserved of those hollow souls who hide behind the mere appearance of greatness. You see it in the eyes of those security forces being trained by Americans who will never fight for themselves as the American fights for them. To give them the chance to experience freedom. We have died for them to have the chance and most will never even take the opportunity. They look at us with contempt. They think we view ourselves as superior. We are superior. We have proven that in battle, in honor, in society, to the world when it needs someone to stand up and say “you may not fight for yourselves, but we will fight for you” because we know that we are accountable and great viciousness will prevail if no action is taken. 
     
                I’m sitting here with a heavy feeling. Sorrow for the loss, the sacrifice of all involved, and then the pride. The pride that I have the honor to call myself an American and can claim membership to the patriot brethren that produces men such as those that brought him home, though it was only the battered remains of an American warrior. It was not so much for the physical retrieval, but for the respect to the soul, the man, the being or entity whom commanded that body, on this earth, to serve his Country. This Country. My Country. The United States of America. Second only to my Family and far ahead of any other thing this man could care about.
     
    "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
    -President, Theodore Roosevelt
    "Citizenship in a Republic,"
    Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910