Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Major Chris Galloway: I will remember you

[As I was planning to be offline for a few days, this column about Major Chris Galloway came to mind. I first shared this in August 2009, but what Chris shared then is still relevant today. Chris - and his words from his heart - is, and will always be, timeless for me. I miss you and your wisdom, Chris.... RIP]

All day today, the news about Major Chris Galloway has been weighing heavily on my heart. As the link to Flopping Aces in my previous post shows, "ChrisG" was a contributor on their site. Chris was also a regular reader (and valued contributor) of the Tanker Bros milblog. I came to know Chris when I first became a caretaker writer on TB, when the Tanker Bros were setting off for their second tour in Iraq.

Chris is another one of those amazing warriors - and I am blessed to know more than a few - who are as masterful with their 'pens', as they are with weapons of war. To me, Chris will always be the soul of a writer.

Below is a column that Chris wrote for Tanker Bros. Read it, and say a prayer for Chris and his beloved family:

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Why we Dislike the term "Hero"

"Tommy/Joe/Digger for the 21st Century"
Why we Dislike the term "Hero"

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.
-"Tommy" by Rudyard Kipling

I have undertaken a difficult topic at the behest of more than a few. I write and rewrite this missive and simply cannot seem to make it rational, let alone SHORT. But here I go.
Those who truly support us and our efforts in Iraq deserve and receive all of our love. We love you all more than mere words can ever express. We will never cease in that love or our dedication to protecting you, our People, our Allies, the Innocent, and the Freedoms we hold dear. We love you because, unlike the 'sunshine patriotism" of the left, you support us no matter what the media and our enemies do. You support us in peace as in war.

Those who despise us and anything we do to defend our People and Freedoms…. well, I have said what you can do many times. These fools: leftists, anarchists, islamofascists, noe-NAZIs, KKK, and a host of other morons, are beyond my contempt and always will be. I must also note that these morons are usually seen gathered together in their "anti-war" marches.

Now for the "That said…". We in the militaries of the West really feel incredibly… uncomfortable… to be called "Heroes". We look in bewilderment at each other whenever this title is used. Now, mind you, we are never anything like what the left, the islamofascists, and our multitude of other foes accuse us of being. Any Soldier who fails to uphold the high standards we set is dealt with accordingly, and publicly. However, we do not consider ourselves to be "heroes".

Why do you not like being called a hero you ask? There are several reasons. First and foremost, "Hero" is a title we reserve for VERY few. Let me name some. As it is Easter, I will start of with Jesus Christ. He withstood hate, torture, harassment, and a multitude of other things to lead the world along the correct path. Another is the Founding Fathers of the United States. They rose up above themselves and stood up against tyranny and risked their lives and property to change the world for the better. In doing so, they ushered in changes world wide for the better. I can go on and on with men and women from many parts of the world.

Addendum for trolls:
(Please take note that Marx, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Saddam, islamofascist terrorists, Castro, Che Guevara, Chavez, Iranian Mullahs, the House of Saud, Cindy who pissed on her husband's and son's name, Mikey Moore, Howard Dean, John Kerry, Jane Fonda, and others of such ilk are not, and WILL NEVER be mentioned in any list of what I consider heroes or even honorable people.)
Addendum Complete

The real heroes I mentioned were people of exemplary character, courage, and faith. We Soldiers fall into the category of the Kipling quote above. We are not "Blackguards" or "uneducated barbarians" or any other derogatory terms our foes use. That said, we are not angels or "plaster saints" either. A weekend of being a Company Commander or a First Sergeant will tell you EXACTLY how much trouble Private "Tommy/Joe/Digger" can get into!!!! If you place us too high on a pedestal, we will fall off.

What are we if not 'heroes' you ask? We are ordinary men and women "most remarkable like you". We are not supermen/women. We are ordinary people who are selected for the PRIVILEDGE to defend our fellow People. My father volunteered, along with my mother, for the Army during Vietnam. He was commissioned in 1968, she in 1970. He went on to be a paramedic, hospital ward supervisor, fire-fighter, and veteran's rights advocate all at the same time. When he was no longer able to be a paramedic due to injuries he became a nursing instructor, 2nd in command of a VAMC, and a veteran's rights advocate (but with A LOT more power to do something about it) before his untimely death in 1997 to illness. He would also balk at the title 'hero'. So would my mother who, even today, fights for the safety and health of children in the poorer communities.

If my parents are also heroes, then other advocates (Brat) are just as big a hero. Other child welfare workers (A_C) are heroes. Others who go with us to combat and stand by us in thick and thin (Kiwi Girl) are also heroes. Others who raise their children well and work very hard to ensure the soldiers far from home get the support they need (Tracy, Leta, Donna, Terri, Yankeemom, and too many others to mention) are ALL HEROES!!!!!

Thus you see our disdain for the word 'hero'. We are all, each of us fighting the forces of islamofascism, resurgent communism, and petty oil rich dictators, ORDINARY people in HEROIC times. Therefore, we are ALL Heroes.

See how the word loses meaning? Now you understand our bewilderment when we are called 'Heroes'. It is the same as us walking up to each other and saying "you are a person". The obvious response is "no kidding, so are you".
"You are a hero"
"No kidding, so are you"

More Poetry…. Now you can say I read you poetry…

“In times of war, and not before,
God and the soldier men adore;
When the war is o’er and all things righted,
The Lord’s forgot and the soldier slighted.”
(Scribed on a wall by Hessian Soldiers in 1776)
-The History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, (W.W.H. Davis, 1876)

And in the comments, he later wrote:
Remember our agreement. Stay Safe.
We just want to be remembered for people. We may be the "business end" of the effort, but we are really just doing our jobs. We are all in this together!!
ChrisG | 04.08.07 - 2:20 pm

Thank you, Chris, thank you for this - and so much more. Rest easy now.


K-Dubyah said...

So sad that another one of ours felt that life was hopeless.

My heart breaks for his family and friends. You my dear, were one... my deepest sympathies.

I hope and pray that if there are any others who think life is hopeless, that we, someone, anyone would extend a hand to help them over their rough path.

Please, just a hand given in friendship can be a lifeline...
Let's not let anymore take this tragic last step.

M*A said...

I have no words except...peace to you Chris and to your family.