"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Abounding generosity

Well, nothing nearly as exciting as my last story is going on; I'm on nights now, with very little tasking, and I've got nothing to do except stand duty and study for my upcoming HAC (helicopter aircraft commander) board. The HAC board is like a big final exam administered by five professors who fire away together at you for three hours; and then, you still have to go fly three flights to test all your knowledge in the air. Fun stuff. But, as I sit here, procrastinating as always, with my office full of a shipment of Christmas mugs my co-cubicle-occupant got sent out here, I thought I'd give a shout-out to the American public that has made this time away from home more bearable. Most of us get care packages from our family and friends; but that's a veritable trickle compared to the amount of gifts we get donated by people who don't know us and have never met us. These Christmas mugs, for example; we got six giant boxes sent over here, enough for the whole squadron twice over. One of our docs seems to have a friend or sypmathizer at the Grand Old Opry, because they send her dozens of goodie boxes a week. And we get a huge amount of snacks, toiletries, books, and other entertainment donated through programs like anymarine.com. And, from what I here, this will be a drop in the bucket compared to the Christmas season. Our families have been warned to send gifts early, because by mid-December we'll be innundated by cargo plane after cargo plane of care packages (and, since they need to get out to the FOBs, I'm sure our life will get a lot busier). So, to everyone out there who's sent a letter or a giant box of Thanksgiving turkeys to us on the other side of the planet: thank you. It's good to know you've got our backs.


Meghan said...

okay, so I didn't send a care package, becuase honestly, I would have no idea what to send, and have no idea what would be useful. I think whatever we would put in a box would be kind of pointless. But you will get a Christmas card from me and Andrew :) And we're always thinking of you and can't wait till you come back! Happy Thanksgiving!

VANavDad said...

My older son flies 53 Echos in Iraq and mentioned he was studying for HAC boards. Aside from the panel and the flights, what kind of HAC-specific knowledge and skills do you have to demonstrate? What does it mean to be a HAC? (Pardon my ignorance; I was a surface officer in the Navy!)