America (with a “C”)

My brother sent me a PDF file of a log written by a B-17F Navigator, Joel Punches during World War II.  Incredible reading!  It makes me realize how lucky I am.  It will take some time to read it, but it’s well worth it.

http://www.94thinfdiv.com/pdf/b17f_flight_log.pdf

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“In Valor, there is Hope”

In the past 10 years, I’ve developed an interest in the human hero.  No, not those on TV, but real ones.  I spent time with many while working in Afghanistan, and have always been on the lookout for more since then.  Recently, I became aware of a very special one.  Mustafa Akarsu was a guard at the American Embassy in Ankara.  In February of 2013, he has standing his post at one of the entrances to the Embassy, when a homicide bomber entered and attempted to get into the Embassy compound.  Because of all the explosives attached to him and all the weaponry he had in hand, his goal was to get inside and kill as many innocent people that he could.  Mustafa stood his ground and kept him from getting in.

One of the American Security Officers started a fund to help his family out.  He didn’t know how much would be contributed, so he placed the goal low at $3000.  His thoughts were, the lower the goal the better chance of getting it fulfilled, because he feared having to tell Mustafa’s family if the goal was not met.  Below is the donating website.  It tends to show that many do indeed honor this man for what he has done.  Terese and I made our contribution to his family.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/mustafa-akarsu-family-fund?c=home

Recently, a Turk working in the Embassy, wrote his thoughts on America that was published in one of the local newspapers in Ankara.  It is posted on the site.  Below is the translation of it.

While the author admires the fidelity shown by the Americans toward our fallen Brother and comrade, Mustafa died saving Americans, Turks, Lebanese, Canadians, Australians, and many other nationals and dual-nationals at the Embassy. The funds the campaign is receiving have come from around the world, from as far away as places like Ulaanbaatar, Ushuaia, and Umeå to as close as the next office over from mine (I call him Ismail). From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe (and all the Turks and Americans in between) we share the same dream, the same vision.

The criminal that killed Mustafa thought he was attacking a symbol of America that day. In reality, he was stopped by a symbol of the values and ideals of an entire world that will never bow down to nor succumb to the cowardly attacks of a terrorist.

“LOYALTY, THE NAME OF THE 51st STATE IN THE USA…

Mustafa Akarsu… the Embassy security guard who was killed on Friday, February 1st in a suicide bomb attack against the US Embassy in Ankara.
It has not even been a month since then, we all have forgotten it; but the Americans didn’t…

There are two different campaigns initiated by the Americans.

Of course he won’t come back, but…

They not only cited the Quran and served helva on the 7th (Turkish traditions for grieving) and paid all of the employee benefits and compensation to Mustafa’s family, but also Embassy employees continue donating money into the bank accounts opened up for Mustafa’s family. The accounts will remain open for another two months.

And this is not all…

There is a website. It is a site that people use to fundraise. The Embassy security section (of which Mustafa was a part) opened a page on indiegogo named the “Mustafa Akarsu Family Fund”.

The page on this site is announced to all of the American Missions all over the world. Anyone may log on to this address and be able to transfer money.

It is not the amount of money raised that matters but we should still mention, as this article was being typed, 90,735 USD was in the account.

There are still 43 days to make donations via internet.

This is neither American nor foreign adoration that I am doing here…
I am only trying to draw attention to the terms ’loyalty’ and ‘human decency’.”

“In Valor, there is Hope”
– Tacitus

I found this inspiring.  Even though the writer states he is not adoring America, I still see it as a result of those people in our country that makes America as great as it is.  Contrary to how some people feel, I have always been proud of my country, because of its people.  When you do a bit of research, you will find that America is always at the top of the list for giving.  Because we are a People who have compassion and human understanding.  We are the people who makes up America.

D.

As an aside note, every time Terese and I drive up to the Embassy in the morning, we are greeted by the guards who are standing out front.  We wave at them and they return with a salute.  Even before Mustafa gave his life for the many people in Ankara, I thought about those guards standing out in the line of death.  I appreciate them and hold them in our high esteem.  Now, after February 1st, my respect for them has been elated.  I truly thank them for their service.  If some murderer wants to kill us, they will be the ones who suffer.  For us.

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I grew up in an age where there was an anger with the US for being involved in the Vietnam War.  Strong anti-US sentiments were expressed because of it.  At the time I was young and impressionable and wasn’t so sure about many things.  I am now an old fart that has seen my share of Life and will see much more.  I realize, we as Americans don’t realize how precious our country is, and how blessed we are.  There will always be those who want to change America, and they have that right; but I hope they realize, their right to think that way is what they are wanting to change.

My father was in World War II, working at an airbase in Texas.  My son joined the Marine Corps fresh out of high school.  Those two individuals are the only ones in my family that served America in that capacity, and they have a right to be proud.  As I aged, my respect for America grew, but it swelled when I work 26 months in Afghanistan working directly with the military.  I wrote a piece about it that was published in the local hometown newspaper.  Small newspapers will usually print something from the local city boy, and it was just that.  You will find it on Page Two under Written Words, titled “I Walked Among Them”.

America has had its share of screw ups, but in most cases, it’s because of America’s desire to bring the freedom and safety we have to others.  Not always successful, but no one can truly say we have not tried to improve the lives of others.  Few other countries can say that.

We as America shy away from Socialism, because we know Capitalism has succeeded in our country for over 250 years.  We have become the freest and thus the most powerful country on earth.  Yes, you can look at the people living on the street, but you have to see other countries as well, before you make that a valid statement.

2 thoughts on “America (with a “C”)”

  1. Dwaine,
    Have you read Laura Hillenbrand’s book “Unbroken: A WWII story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption”? It is a very profound book and one that I think that you will like.
    Kay

    • dknolte said:

      It looks good. I went ahead and placed an order for it from Amazon. Thanks, D.

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