For Veterans Day: Remember Past, Honor Present

In a previous post, we noted that some Veterans carry their spirit of service back home with them and use that energy with disaster relief.

With the release of Jake Tapper’s new book, we can further appreciate that spirit on this Veteran’s Day, and Tony Rossi’s high recommendation has certainly piqued my interest in learning more about our remarkable soldiers:

Nineteen-year-old Private First Class Brian Moquin Jr. joined the Army after struggling with a heroin addiction prompted by his father’s own drug problem. Moquin originally tried heroin because he “wanted to see why my father loved it more than he loved me.”

Sergeant Patrick Lybert, age 28, was so devoted to his special needs brother, Noah, that he swore he would only marry a woman who was equally willing to welcome him into their home when their mother died someday.

First Lieutenant Ben Keating, the 27-year-old son of Baptist ministers, believed in being a servant leader to his platoon because he wanted to follow Jesus’ leadership model. He was so invested in his faith that he brought a Latin copy of St. Augustine’s “Confessions” with him to Afghanistan.

Those are just three of the many American troops from the 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment (3-71 Cav) whose stories are told in the new book The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by ABC News Senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper.

In the summer of 2006, the Army decided to build a small outpost in the largely-unexplored Nuristan Province of Afghanistan, which shared a border with Pakistan. The goal was to stop Taliban fighters and their multitudes of weapons from crossing into Afghanistan. Also on the agenda was to befriend the locals and invest in their communities so they would come to see the Americans as a positive force in their lives. Though the soldiers made every effort to bring this goal to fruition, their good intentions didn’t lead to simple resolutions.

Tapper points out that this was a province “mythically untamed.” In his 1888 novella “The Man Who Would Be King,” author Rudyard Kipling described it by saying, “You’ll be cut to pieces before you’re 50 miles across the Border…The people are utter brutes, and even if you reached them you couldn’t do anything.”

Read Tony’s whole review. The book is called The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor, but thanks to Tapper, it is no longer untold. I’m thinking this is a great Christmas gift for my Father-in-Law and you may have fellas in the family who would appreciate finding this story under the tree.

Speaking of outposts, Afghanistan, rough country and gifts…let’s not forget the women. Over at the Summablog, Fran Rossi Szpylczyn guestposts to let us know about Spartan Women Carepacks:

[U.S.Army Veteran] Nicole Kasdorf is keenly aware that there are many thousands still deployed “over there”. Focusing on women stationed on a remote base in Afghanistan, she began to form a vision — how about something to help these strong female soldiers feel like the women, especially when the going is “rough?”

Read about what Kasdorf has begun
with the help of an upstate New York parish, and consider whether you can help with the effort!

Rebecca Hamilton brings some good news on this day: After a long battle, and theft, the veteran’s cross is raised once more. Check it out.

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About Elizabeth Scalia