The Letter

“So ardent my belief in this cause
That if my future on this Earth is to
Lie below it, I fear nor worry”

I wrote that in a letter
To my parents. And put
It in an envelope labeled
‘do not open’

Everybody writes one
A letter
I just find it hard
To believe here, now
A full decade after I
First stepped foot in
That place that of
All the things to say
I said that

For the greater glory of
Us who stood here.
All of us. Who fought,
Bled, cried, shivered
Cold and wet through
Mt. Sinjar’s Snowy winter,
Baked in the unrelenting
Heat at Raw’ah. Who
Dedicated our time,
Our lives, our youth,
Our best, and the dead
Our so many dead

All so that now every
Square inch of sand,
Every building and brick
Date palm and rock
Under the control of
The Islamic State

For the ‘Greater Glory’, indeed.

About anotherwarriorpoet

Mathew Bocian served as a Captain in the United States Army with the Stryker Brigade and was deployed to Mosul and Tal'Afar in 2004 - 2005, and to Baghdad for The Surge in 2007 - 2008. He left the Army in 2012 and now uses his poetry as a way to heal from the traumas of war, while attempting to express to readers the realities of war. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and holds a master's from the Graduate School for Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
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5 Responses to The Letter

  1. Wow. I can’t imagine what this must feel like… I’m really, really sorry.

    What we went through doesn’t come close, and we were STILL devastated after completing Operation Silver Wake. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Silver_Wake

    Here’s how it went down, as I remember it…

    We arrive back in NC, and our Gunny is giving us this speech on the buses. He’s telling us about how after Desert Storm, how he’d arrived the same way. On a bus, tons of media waiting, lots of cameras and folks wanting to interview him.

    And they’re telling us what we can say and can’t say, and we’re like on Cloud 9. We feel like huge fucking heroes.

    And we’re singing and laughing and just feeling amazing. We had successfully done what we’d trained to do, and what nearly every young man dreams of doing: defending and serving their country by going in harm’s way.

    Then the buses pull in, and we see family and friends. And after we get down with the hugs and hello’s, it soon hits us that there is no media. And that’s bad enough, but we try to act like we don’t care.

    But then on leave, and in the months and months to follow, I soon realize, “Not a damn person knows what we did. And frankly, not a damn person even cares.”

    I will always be so proud of what we did, but no one knows a damn thing about it. And even when I bring it up, I feel like a total bitch. It doesn’t compare to our major wars or our current wars, but for us, it was a big damn deal. We faced death, we contemplated death before going in, and probably not even a 1,000 people in the country even knows we did it.

    And I guess that’s expected if you’re in the Seals or something and it’s top secret. But we were regular joes, just doing our damn jobs.

    So, there’s my whiny-ass bitch story. I’m surprised I’m even sharing it. I’ve mostly pushed it down deep in my memory, but this is what happened as best I can remember it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I appreciate you sharing your story, Stan. We all do our part and have our time, right? When we first got home from Iraq everyone in the Seattle/Tacoma area was a war hero. You couldn’t be in a bar or restaurant without hearing people left or right recalling some major operation or ‘this one time when…’ And we all knew it was BS. The people who never said a thing, those were the guys (and gals) that knew what they did and didn’t need to boast or impress chicks or inflate their own sense of self worth with stories.

    You served your country proud, in a time of a confusing and challenging conflict, and you helped people. Above all when your nation called, you answered, unwavering. I wasn’t there, so I will never understand. But I am proud to call you Brother and I am thankful for one more solid Marine out there to toe the line with me.

    I just get frustrated as time goes on. I’m not a political person (I dislike politics) and I wouldn’t take back my deployments or my choice to join the Army or anything – I guess what frustrates me the most is that, we gave it all up. It’s hard to comprehend everything you did and felt pride in was relatively nothing in the grand scheme. And ultimately ended up being a waste. We invested so much time, money – but more importantly lives of men and woman – and then we walked away and it went to pot. Like we didn’t see THAT coming…

    Liked by 2 people

    • “But I am proud to call you Brother and I am thankful for one more solid Marine out there to toe the line with me.”

      Absolutely, brother. I’m glad we crossed paths. I’d say we both still have a lot to figure out — and vent about — before we’re able to let it go. (Though I’m pretty convinced there are some things you just can’t ever manage to let go.)

      Liked by 1 person

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