9/25/06: 'Soldier's Diary' Readers Respond to Captain Dan

Here are just a few of the most recent responses, as of Sept. 25, to Capt. Dan Sukman's 'Soldier's Diary' on FOXNews.com.

Dear Capt. Dan,

I have been reading your entries for a few months now, and would like to take the opportunity to thank you and your fellow soldiers for your service and sacrifice. I appreciated reading your reasons for serving, noting the loyalty and camaraderie you feel for your company and fellow soldiers. As you come back stateside, I would just like to wish you a safe return, a loving reunion with loved ones, and the sense from all of us here that we appreciate and admire you for your sacrifice. Thank you for putting into words the life of a soldier so like those that my family has prayed for these last 4-plus years. God bless you and keep you safe. Ever indebted to you. —Jessica B., Oregon

CPT Sukman,

Sir, your entry today was very well put. Thank you for putting to words, over the last year, the emotions a soldier goes through on a deployment, especially the part about how a soldiers feelings can be completely different depending on if they lost a brother to an IED or if they worked with the locals. Many civilians can receive a misleading view of the war because of that simple aspect alone. After being home from "The Box" for almost two years, that is the biggest thing I struggle with on a day-to-day — making sure to communicate the positive things that I witnessed in Iraq as an engineer at LSA Anaconda. Congratulations on a successful deployment. —SSG Chris Constant

Capt. Dan,

Thank you for writing about some of the positive reactions of the American people toward our troops. Living in a very liberal state, all I seem to hear about are the negatives about war and politics. All politics aside, you all are doing a wonderful service for the freedoms of this country. As a high-school teacher, it often angers me when my students won't rise for the flag salute. I will concede that it is their freedom not to pledge, but ask them to instead rise and give just a moment of their day in thought to soldiers who are fighting for our country. Most will stand, and be respectful while others still will not. Ahhh ... the beauty of freedom. I just wanted you to know that there are people who care about the soldiers and thank you for your service. You are all appreciated. Have a safe journey home. —Sarah Bolser, Mount Vernon, Wash.

Hi Capt. Dan,

I read your e-mails from time to time and always enjoy hearing from you. I have a special place in my heart for soldiers, as my son is a soldier. He, too, is a captain and was in Iraq for a year. He is now home and left the regular Army, Ft. Hood, Texas, and returned to his home state of Florida, where he is a fulltime member of the Florida National Guard. I know exactly what you mean about leaving your youth in Iraq. He returned a man but still my boy, my son. Thanks to you and all the others for what you do every day. I hope you will soon be home with your family. —Susan Sargeant, Lakeland, Fla.

Capt. Dan,

I have kept up with your postings every day, although I have only written to you once. First, thank you for serving our country in such an unselfish, honorable manner and also for keeping those at home informed of what it is truly like to be in Iraq as an American soldier. Knowing that we cannot really experience what it means, you still have given us a good idea and I appreciate you.

As you and the soldiers around you are headed home, I think it is so important to let the people reading your column know about the adjustments and hardships these soldiers and their families will go through upon their arrival back in the states. Relationships have changed as much as the soldiers have. So often, the public only sees when a soldier returning from war has a bad problem and commits a horrible crime. The media focuses on that without covering the services and support the military provides for the demobilization time. When my husband returned from Operation Enduring Freedom, I thought the hard times were over. He was home, all was right in the world again. But I was so unprepared for the changes and adjustments on both sides. The Navy came to our rescue … Remind your readers that the war is not over when the soldier returns home. The memories of what he/she has seen are with them for a lifetime and as you mentioned, changes them. The families back home have to get to know a newer version of their husband, father, son, etc. Sometimes this is very hard and the armed services are to be commended for providing support and help. The media continuously reports on the higher divorce rate among military marriages since the war on terrorism began. They seldom show the family that worked through it all and are functioning in a healthy way again.

Again thanks to you and the men and women that have served with you, as well as to the personnel now arriving and learning their new jobs. Your sacrifice is great, rewards are few, but I would like to say "job well done" and welcome home. —Deann Wojtylak

Capt. Dan,

I've never read your diary entry before. I'm so happy to hear you will be home with family and friends soon. May God bless you with a continued safe journey. In July, we gathered to see our soldier, Tom Turner, home. It was not the happy occasion it will be for your loved ones, for sadly, he was killed by a roadside bomb. He was also from the 101st Airborne. Tom was eagerly looking forward to returning home after two tours in Iraq to enjoy his young family. His long separation from family, friends and the things he loved had caused him to rethink what was dear to him. He was a proud soldier and we are proud of him. I'm not doing him justice. I pray every day for all of you. I hope Iraq is one day considered a success that will ease the deep hurt that comes from the personal losses made by so many. I'm sure your messages will be missed but you've made a great contribution.

Capt. Dan,

It is the soldier, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag. CPT Dan, Hoo-ah! Great piece of writing. Stay safe. —Ret. Capt. Bill Pries, JAGC, Navy

Hi Captain Dan,

You have either left Iraq or just getting ready to leave, but I just wanted to say thanks for your thoughts! I really appreciated the real story compared to what some of the media was printing. I am so proud of our military and the outstanding work they are doing! Even on my worst day at work, I know you and the rest of the military were facing tougher days than I would ever experience. You folks have my full support. Please give my thanks to the rest of the troops for me. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Have a safe trip home! Thanks again! —Virginia Polifroni

Capt. Dan,

First let me say have a safe journey home. I wish I could be there to welcome you. I am a Patriot Guard Rider and have attended far too many funerals for our fallen heroes. It is good to know that people like you are taking care of our troops. I am a vet and my grandson is a Marine who is currently stationed at Camp LeJeune. He will be deployed sometime in January. While I will fear for his safety, I take comfort in knowing that he has the character and sense of honor to step up and stand with his brothers and sisters. It is about taking care of each other. God speed on your journey home, and thank you, sir! —Bill Cook, Sherrills Ford, N.C., Army Security Agency '62 - '65

Dear Dan,

Thank you for writing this diary. I just wish that more people could read it. I am a proud military mom. My daughter is in the Air Force (9 years) and has been to Kuwait (and elsewhere). You are right, though most people here in the USA don't understand. They are distracted by the media. We are bombarded daily by what is not being done over there. We very rarely see any good happening at all. Having a daughter in the military helps me because she has sent me articles written about the good that the military has done there. There is not a day that goes by that my thoughts and prayers aren't with all the men and women of our armed forces! You guys are doing a great job! We are so very proud of you all. You volunteered to serve your country and you, as well as the other soldiers, are doing what you said you would do when you took that oath to serve.

My heart grieves for the ones that have been lost, but I do know that they have given their lives so that others may have the right to live and I don't think there is a more noble cause to sacrifice you life for another's. May God keep you in the palms for His hands and bring you and the others safely home. Stay safe and proud! —Shannon Taylor, Alexandria,Va.

Capt. Dan,

Poem: "Tears"

Desert hot, ground is dry

Rain must come, clouds must cry.

Heavy gear upon their shoulders,

Moving bodies, moving boulders.

They walk they run, on knees they crawl,

Fighting their hardest, still standing tall.

Loved ones cry tears like rain,

Soldiers' eyes are wet with pain.

Freedom lives, it does not die

Because our troops lay down their lives.

They bear it all, they are so brave.

There are no greater gifts than those that they gave.

Yellow ribbons on the tree,

Grieving tears like the sea

Those who didn’t make it

Are remembered in love.

Tears of sorrow cried down here on Earth,

But tears of joy are cried in Heaven above.

Thank you for all you do. I thank all of the soldiers for everything they have been through. God bless you. —Ellie Rodenberg

Capt. Dan,

You must realize that you and your soldiers are the sons and daughters of every man and woman in the United States. I have followed your column. Thank you for opening the eyes of us, the people you have fought to protect and defend. Thank you for sharing your day-to-day life with us, making the Iraq experience more than a blurb on some newscast; more than foreign towns, car bombs and numbers of dead and wounded. Most of all, thank you for coming back home to us safe and sound. We salute you, we honor you and we love you. —Jaquelyn W., Escondido, Calif.