The first time I heard my brother Pat’s war stories, we were in his truck, heading north for the hunting cabin. I sat there in awe, listening and feeling very proud of him. It had taken years before he could talk about it, and I thought that maybe he had needed those years, to let the pain of some of those memories fade.
I never realized before just how close I had come to losing him. I thanked God, for he must have been watching over my brother. When he told of more and more of his adventures, I imagined those experiences; visions of jungles, combat, survival and death flashed through my mind.
After listening to those stories, I found myself thinking about the war often. What if it were me out there, roaming around the jungles of Vietnam? Could I have survived the war?
Deep in the mountains of Afghanistan, a group of radical extremists (later to be known as the Taliban) gathered around their tall, bearded leader for another important meeting to finalize the details of a plan to eventually bring the world to a shocking new realization of all that such a ragtag group of fanatical, determined, and well-trained evil terrorists could accomplish.
They had been up to their nasty games as far back as 1983, when the terrorists began with a horrific attack on American troops in Beirut, killing over 200 U.S. Marines. Another attack, this time on American soil took place in 1993, when a bomb was placed in the basement of the World Trade Center. When were we going to wake up? As time went by, terrorist groups kept spreading throughout the Middle East, growing stronger in the shadows of Saddam Hessian and Desert Storm. Innocent people continued to be murdered around the world.
An intricate network of radical Islamic terror
Rob, meanwhile, loved to stroll along the sand dunes with Beth Anne, especially when they made their way to their own little spot, their own private picnic paradise on the beach. This year, though, there were no sandy strolls. This year, it was all about getting back to normal after the emotional rollercoaster, the nightmare the family had experienced.
It was a nice warm late summer day, Rob tried to put it all in perspective, tried to think about the good things in his life. As the doctor wisely advised, he needed to “put the past to bed.”
The sky was clear blue, with a few puffy, white clouds floating by in the light breeze. What a simple pleasure it was for him to hear the birds chirping and to watch the squirrels nibble acorns while they scurried around the big oak trees. Some of the summer flowers were still in bloom, and the earthy smell of fresh-cut grass wafted through the air.
The warm sunshine felt good as Rob reflected on his life since he left the U.S. Army and bought the M