It is the custom of American Servicemen to write letters to loved ones BEFORE going into harm’s way. A friend of mine from Northern Illinois recently told me about one such letter written by Marine Capt. Ryan Anthony Beaupre who was killed in a helicopter crash on March 20, 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. It is well worth reading.
“Never was so much owed by so many to so few.” Winston Churchill.
Ryan A. Beaupre
Mom & Dad,
Well if you are reading this, then things didn’t go well for me over in Iraq. I’m sorry for the pain that I have caused you because of this. Please do not be upset with the Marine Corps, the military, the government, or the President. It was my choice to go into the military. The President and my higher commanders were just doing what they thought was best. Realize that I died doing something that I truly love, and for a purpose greater than myself. There is a paragraph that I read from time to time when I lose focus.
“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” John Stewart Mill
Now there is a little Marine Corps bravado in there, but I do believe in the basic premise. I want you to know that I could not have asked for better parents, or a better family. ….. I’ll never forget that one of my friends in elementary school said that if he could trade places with one person, he’d trade places with me because of my parents and home life. I truly feel that I’ve had a blessed life thanks to you two. Please give my love to Alyse & Ryan, Kari & Matt & the girls, Chris & Brandy, and everyone else in the family.
All my love,