(photos Lance Corporal T. Hoffman with his mom moments before he is deployed to Afghanistan. Last summer photo with his younger brother, Turner)
My dear friend Jennifer is the mom of Lance Corporal T. Hoffman. Two weeks ago, he was deplored to Afghanistan. He has the dangerous mission of searching for roadside IEDs with his dog. Prior to his departure last month, I asked him about his decision to join the USMC. Especially, when he had many other doors open for him. His words let me know that being a solider is an honorable career.
He shared his honest feelings about the questions I asked. The questions were off the top of my head and there was no agenda in asking him about his faith, freedom, and serving our country. A few were about government policy that affect who can and cannot serve in the US Military. That interview was seen in numerous newspapers and posted at www.Blogcritics.org. I wanted to hear from solider and shares his point of view about serving when he did not have too. On www.blogcritics.Org, there were some strong opinions about what was said in the article. There were several who personally attacked the right of an individual to serve in a volunteer military and share his views. Not once did the young solider criticize our country or our country leaders.
Behind computer screens with made up names, some insults were leveled about policy, why we are in Afghanistan and various other comments heaped on a young man who decided to serve. None of those questions could he have answered even if he wanted. I was discussing his commitment to serve while a few weighed in on why we were in Afghanistan. Two different issues all together. Several made it very personal. The article has been one of the most read on www.Blogcritics.org since Thursday and was posted on several other sites. After reading the comments, here is what I know for sure; Lance Corporal Hoffman did not pick the war he was asked to fight in. Nor did he decide where he was going to be stationed. He does not make up the rules of engagement and he does not pick who serves with him. He votes in one state, one election at a time. As a solider, his political views are not considered when he serves our country. When I last saw him, he showed not sign of being brainwashed to join the Marines nor was he "looking for adventure" because he chose to join. Adventure can be found climbing Mt. Everest, not looking for IEDs.
What he was in control of was his heart to serve our country. He is brave and courageous. He is young and faithful. He is married to a beautiful wife and loved by many. He is a Marine. He is the same age that many of our current and former military leaders of today were when they enlisted in our military. That list includes Generals Powell and Honore’. No one would call their decision to serve anything less than honorable.
THIS post is to say thank you to Tyler and thousands of other brave men and women who are serving our country. THIS post is to remind me that our freedom comes with a price. Cliché or not, I would not be able even to post differing views if I lived in many other countries. Remember Iran last summer? How quickly we forget. If anyone wants to debate issues about our government policy, countries where soldiers are station, wars tactics and rumors of wars…there are blogs for that. There are many policies regarding the military that our government has made over the years that I have not agreed with but one thing I keep separate; my appreciation for the those serving and debating political issues that a solider has no have power over.
Let me say again, thank you Lance Corporal Hoffman for serving our country. Thank you to every solider who has worn a uniform. Thank you to my uncles, cousins, in-laws, my brother and numerous friends for CHOOSING to serve our country.
Happy Fourth of July! Happy Birthday America