HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
June 4, 2007, Herald Journal

‘Not too late to say ‘thank you’


After flipping through the channels one evening, I came across a CBS prime time special that I intended to watch but had forgotten about.

“Flashpoint,” hosted by Katie Couric, featured Kimberly Dozier, a CBS News correspondent who was injured in Iraq Memorial Day of last year. During the same car bomb blast, her two colleagues, James Brolan and Paul Douglas, were killed.

The heart wrenching account not only showed her near-death experience and long recovery process, but also the lives of the men and women who were involved with the incident or affected by it.

Army Capt. James Funkhouser was also killed, leaving behind his two young daughters and wife. This account represented to me the thousands of families who have lost loved ones in this war.

The program made the situation in Iraq all too real for me, along with the 104 journalists and the 3,300 American soldiers who have died in the battlefields of Iraq.

What amazes me most is Dozier’s enthusiasm to get back to the battlefield after such a life-changing event took place.

She is not run by fear – neither are the men and women so bravely serving for their country.

This ties into the Memorial Day service address given by Jesse Carlson. He quoted John Stuart Mill, saying, “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war, is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

I got to thinking, “Who would do this? Who would put their life on the line?” Then, I realized, it’s a call of duty. We all have a call for one thing or another.

These soldiers aren’t asked, they weren’t even ordered, but they were chosen.

When the show ended, and after a long bawling session, I got out a pen and paper. I felt I needed to do something to say “thank you” for the sacrifices made each and every day out on the battlefields.

Having done an article in last week’s issue titled “A Million Thanks” I thought it was only proper to participate by doing my own card of thanks.

In a war that has been going on for so long, in a land far away, where parts of it can only be seen on the nightly news, it’s hard for it to become real.

Writing that letter made it that much more real. It made the soldiers tangible to me. I can only hope to hear from the brave soldier that receives my card.

It’s not too late to send a “thank you,” check out www.amillionthanks.org. For those who missed “Flashpoint” and would like to hear the story, visit www.cbsnews.com search “Flashpoint.”