From Paul G. (Student, Age 15)

Bravery.  Defined as “The quality that allows someone to do things that are dangerous or frightening.”  Few have it, you do.  The guardians and protectors of The United States of America.  You are the bravest people on the face of the earth.  You have chosen to make the greatest sacrifice one can make.  To put your life on the line for others.  No words can explain the amount of courage and bravery you have.

You are the reason that when I go to bed at night, I look forward to tomorrow.  Without our troops America would be incapable of existence and without America there is no freedom, so I thank you.  I thank you, the guards of freedom and the pillars of a nation.  I thank you, the men and women who have so bravely served our great nation.  Thank you.

Paul G.

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From Laurisa C. (Corporate Recruiter, Age 23)

Dear Soldier,

Thank you for your relentless pursuit of excellence. Excellence in honor, excellence in duty and excellence in selfless service. As I go about my day, I sometimes forget why it is so special to be an American citizen. I forget these things because I live in a country where I don’t have to worry about being safe. And that is a privilege denied to many.

I have this very privilege because of the soldiers that are sacrificing themselves so I can enjoy this life. This life of unequivocal freedom and opportunity.

The freedom that you fight for does not go unnoticed. It is noticed in the streets I walk in, the buildings I work in and the people I speak with. It is not a blatant thing; it is a gentle underlying current. One that swells and pools around your feet. A current that you don’t even realize you are a part of until it sweeps you up and carries you out to sea. And for that peaceful forgetfulness, I thank you.

Your selfless service is admirable beyond all else.

-Laurisa

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From Ken G. (Small Business Owner, Age 47)

To Our Country’s Service Men and Women Past and Present,

The weight of the world at least

That weight would only be increased

Beyond what mortal men would dare to bear

Even though the weight was great

They stormed the beach and then they crashed the gate

And after there was music in the air  (The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, They Will Need Music)

From every generation of American came a select few people who put their lives on the line to establish, maintain then preserve the freedom that is unique to our country.  Thanks to your courage and determination, the closest folks like myself will ever come to dangers like many of you have faced is in history books.  For that, myself, my family, and the entire country are forever grateful.

Ken G.

Ken

From Kip Y. (Salesperson)

Thank you for all of your support and for everything you do.  I know you feel like no one thinks about you but we do.  Thank you for your help and all your sacrifices!

Kip

Kip

Project Update – March 19, 2014

I had a meeting yesterday with a Vietnam era veteran who has connections at the VA and with some veteran’s organizations.  Looks like I have an “in” at the VA so when the books are ready to go out, I will definitely be able to get them inside where the veterans will be able to read them.  This is a good development since I was fully prepared to set up camp outside the various VA clinics and hospitals and hand out copies to vets going in and out.

I have a meeting on Friday with a veteran’s group at a manufacturing plant.  It’s always good to have the opportunity to get the word out about this project.

I was exercising this morning and had a bit of insight.  I think there are people I’ve solicited for participation in the Words for Warriors Project who feel intimidated by the prospect of writing an open letter.  Since I love to write and it’s a very comfortable way for me to express myself (I’d rather write than talk most of the time, which is why my friends all know to text me or email me rather than call me on the phone) that thought hadn’t occurred to me before now.  I know lots of people who love to talk but think of putting pen to paper as torture. To that end, I made up some sheets so that people can dictate what they’d like to say and I can just write it down for them.

I will use this form to write down notes from people who'd rather just talk and not write.
I will use this form to write down notes from people who’d rather talk and not write.

I see myself standing on a street corner somewhere in the near future with a clipboard and pen ready to go!  Since we’ve already established that talking to people isn’t my strong suit, especially talking to strangers, this will prove to be an interesting exercise in “how-much-do-I-want-it?”

I can tell you right now, this project WILL be successful and if I have to go outside my comfort zone, then that’s exactly what I’ll do!

Bless all of you who have so kindly made submissions.  Remember you never know how much a kind word can mean to someone.

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From Brandon D. (Analyst, Former Hotshot Firefighter, Age 28)

Dear Soldier,

My name is Brandon.  I am 28.  I just got married to my wife, Kristin, last August.  We are currently getting ready for spring. Kristin likes to plant flowers and vegetables so we are going to build a vegetable garden in the back yard.  I’m a little worried about our little Dachshund Tink figuring out there are carrots in the vegetable garden because she loves carrots.  We also have a little pug named Joey, but he seems to like beer more than carrots.  I can’t drink a beer in peace anymore without the pug sitting at my feet hoping for me to spill.  He’s a good dog though.  He really likes riding in the jeep with the top off.  We usually go up four wheeling to get out of the city and get some fresh air.  I hope you are able to get some fresh air sometime soon.

For those of you still serving, keep your chin up, we are all thinking about you.  Come home safe and sound.

Brandon & Kristin

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From Sandra G. (Grandmother, Age 75)

While waiting for a flight at the airport my friend and I noticed five young men, all wearing prosthesis on both legs, and they were wearing jackets with USA Hockey written on them.  At this same time the Olympics were going on in Sochi and the USA/Russia hockey game was being televised.  We were all watching the game and from their comments it was evident they were very knowledgeable about hockey.

When we were called to board the aircraft I was fortunate enough to be seated beside one of the young men.  We greeted each other and being a curious person, I asked about the jackets they were wearing.  He said they were on the Sledge Hockey team and had been training at the Olympic Center for the past month.  They were on their way to North Carolina for more practice and were then going  traveling to Sochi to participate in the ParaOlympics.

My next question was if he had been in the military and his answer was “yes”.  His face broke into the biggest, brightest smile when I thanked him for fighting for our country.  Such a small gesture brought this beautiful smile.  He proceeded to show and explain the different apparatus the team uses when playing a game.  As the conversation ended, he took a nap and I read my book.  Upon his awakening I asked for the names of the young men he was traveling with and I told him we would be watching for them on TV.

As I deplaned, I thanked him again for his service to our country and with a thumbs up said “Go USA”.  Once again I received his beautiful smile.  I will never forget those young men and Josh certainly left a part of himself in my heart.

Those young man on the plane reminded me yet again of the boundless capacity of human beings to triumph over devastating events.  Josh represented America wearing his military uniform and now represents us wearing his hockey uniform.  I  later found out he had served in the Marine Corps and couldn’t help thinking about their saying, “improvise, adapt and overcome.” What an amazing story of service and devotion to country and what a wonderful example of how to “stay in the fight” for the rest of us.

Sandy G.

Our Mission

To compile letters from American citizens (both with and without a military background) to our veterans which will be published in book form and distributed in the community, thereby providing a unique way to acknowledge and support veterans who might otherwise never know that the work they did on our behalf is appreciated.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” (William Arthur Ward)

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From Stew S. (Veteran, Author, Strength and Conditioning Specialist)

This well written piece is NOT just for SEALs and SEAL trainees trying to get and stay motivated when times are tough BUT this is for everyone.  Some of my favorite emails from people are from cancer patients who read the lines in this creed everyday to “stay in the fight”.  My personal favorite section is the section in bold below.  Enjoy and use as needed to help you push through when energy is low and times are tough.

The Navy SEAL Creed

In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call. A common man with uncommon desire to succeed.

Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America’s finest special operations forces to serve his country, the American people, and protect their way of life.

I am that man.

My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes that have gone before, it embodies the trust of those I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.

My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.

I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men.

Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.

We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.

I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.

We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me – my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete.

We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required yet guided by the very principles that I serve to defend.

Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed.

I will not fail.

Stew S.  ( graduate of the United States Naval Academy, former Navy SEAL Lieutenant, author, strength and conditioning specialist, military fitness trainer)

stewruckA few of the booksStew S

From Pete T. (Manager, Age 47)

When considering something as profound and noble as sacrifice on the field of battle, I was very pleased to find some familiar quotations from Edmund Burke.  He lived from 1729 to 1797, was born Irish, served in the British parliament, was a supporter of the colonists in the American revolution, and is considered to be a philosophical founder of modern conservative thinking.  He had a number of important things to say about tyranny, liberty, freedom and conflict.  Although he said these things more than 200 years ago, they are just as pertinent today. Here are a few that I think relate to our men and women serving (and who have served) in the armed forces.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

“It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.”

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”

“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

Pete

From Carol K. (Retired Medical Technologist & Grandma, Age 72)

To all veterans,

I want to say a most heartfelt thank you for your service – and I try to personally thank any service person I see in uniform or with a cap or other designation showing they have served.  America needs to remember that those serving today and for the past 20-30 years were not drafted but signed up voluntarily to serve and protect the United States of America.  We need to be grateful not only to our service men and women but to their families who are also making sacrifices to support our troops.  Separations during deployments are hard on everyone.

My husband was in the Army, my brother in the Air Force, my son served 22 years in the Army and my youngest daughter was in the Navy.  I have always thanked each of them on Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day for helping to make our country the safe place we all enjoy every day!!

Each night I say a prayer to keep our troops safe and help them to  know how much they are appreciated!!

Carol K.

Me, my son and daughter at the dedication ceremony for the Veteran's Bridge on November  11, 2010.  My son was still on active duty when it was taken. My late husband, brother, son and daughter are all listed on the bridge!
Me, my son and daughter at the dedication ceremony for the Veteran’s Bridge on November 11, 2010. My son was still on active duty when it was taken. My late husband, brother, son and daughter are all listed on the bridge!

From Michael G. (U.S. Army Veteran, Age 41)

The Soldier’s Creed

I am an American Soldier.

I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army values.

I will always place the mission first.

I will never accept defeat.

I will never quit.

I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.

I am an expert and I am a professional.

I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.

I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.

I am an American Soldier.

MichaelMichael

Michael G.   First unit – Bco. 2/115th 29Div (L)  OIF/OEF veteran (8 years served, 4 deployments)