Back during the Vietnam war there was a song and it went something like this. "War, War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing." Whoever wrote that song didn't understand a few things, like that sometimes we must fight for what is right. That sometimes freedom isn't easy. They obviously did not know my Julie. Julie is and always has been a beautiful girl. She has always been strong willed and fought for what she wanted. Like the time when she was about 2 and wanted to pick up a large jug of clorox and move it. It was way to heavy so she stood there red faced and screaming until we moved the object. No sir, she did not give up, she did not back down, she did not relent. And so it has been most of her life, always reaching for the things she wanted, but not only reaching, she has been obtaining. From the time that she still lived at home where we did not have much even though others around her had plenty , she had the necessities but not much more. She went to work and then to college, striving for a goal that would be unreachable to many. I will never forget the day she came home and told me she had joined the Marines. That she would be serving our country. Of course like many mothers who have daughters my thoughts were, let someone else go, let men be in danger, not my little girl. Then I looked and realized that she wasn't a little girl but standing there where my little girl had been stood a full grown woman. A woman with hopes and dreams, a woman with sure ambition. A woman with a purpose. And so she left , Paris Island, SC was her first destination. I was never so proud the day we went for the ceremony of her becoming a United States Marine. The raising of the Colors made me cry and made my heart swell with pride. My daughter was a honorable woman. She did many things in the next few years in the Marines. She ended up in San Diego,Ca. She graduated with a bachelors degree from the University of California ,San Marcos. Nothing can compare to the day we went to see her sworn in as a officer. I can't even describe that feeling. Such an honor. I knew that one day she would make a difference in our world. And she is, serving our country, putting others first, risking her own life, and for who. For you and for me, for your children and mine. For people in foreign lands who she will never know. All of this seemed good as long as she was serving in the states. Julie has two little boys Paul age 2 and Logan 1. She found out in October that she would be going to Qatar and made arrangements for them to stay with relatives while she would be gone. We kept in touch via email and infrequent phone calls. Then today an email. Mom, I am going to Iraq. Not much more, just those somber words. My heart dropped, tears welled in my eyes but I can't cry. I must be strong. And again I am proud. How many millions of mothers have felt what I feel? Proud yet with pain, strength yet weakness. Many I would guess. Well if I could talk to her (which I can't) I would say remain strong, the prize will be worth the pain. The goal is honorable. The risk worth taking. I realize now why the saying The Few, The Proud, The Marines. And so I say be safe and return home to me unharmed. Fight for the weak, the homeless, the shamed, the millions who have been murdered by dictators. Fight for those who can not fight for themselves. Fight for your brother, your sister, your children, And fight for me, the one who has loved you even before birth. I love you , come home safely.