We are soooooooooooooo proud! We just had to share this regardless of your politics it is enlightening!

Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes this past year for our David. He is quite a man!

respectfully Greg & Maryann Violand

Written on 01/30/2005

 
Father... words cannot express the happiness that I have felt throughout the
last forty-eight hours.  Yesterday was a success- a monumental success. It is
difficult for someone to understand, or even to begin to understand the level of
success- the sheer exuberance and joy of the people involved in what occurred
yesterday.  We awoke today to a new Iraq... even as the liberal media from
around the world attempted to play down the success that we enjoyed; one could
just as easily stop the world from turning.  America should rightfully be proud
of her sons and daughters in uniform- incredibly proud.  When we are older men
and women, that natural inclination to justify ones life, to ask the question,
"Have I made a difference?" can be answered with a resounding yes. How many,
including the majority of ourselves, predicted chaos and destruction.  What we-
what everyone- forgot was the un-corruptible power of the human spirit that
yearns for freedom.  America has long forgotten, as 
will a child who has grown used to a right or privilege present throughout the
years, what a thrill it is to choose one's destiny.  When I went into the
streets yesterday, and I was present amongst the crowds, patrolling for nine
hours throughout the day, I saw people who were happy, dancing in the streets
and smiling for the cameras. This was not the chaos predicted by the news
channels, nor the bloodshed anticipated by the vast majority.  This was, quite
simply, a marvelous thing of absolute goodness- and there is seldom an
opportunity in one's life were you can claim to be witness to such an event. 
This one day, has justified and made worthy the whole of my year-long
deployment.  Cast aside the doubt, the loneliness, the anger- completely washed
away.  Cast aside the questions of worth and sacrifice- gone.  Left behind is
the feeling that we have made a difference- for the 30,000 in my little Kada'a
(think county) to the several million in Iraq that voted freely for the first 
time, ever, we have made a difference.  I have three anecdotes that I would
like to share with you, and whomever you forward this too.  The first, is
a video I saw on the Arabic news channel Al Arabiyah yesterday. A group of Iraqi
women was marching through the streets of Baghdad, chanting "we are not afraid"
as they went, with mortar rounds landing in the background- what more moving
indictment of democracy could one ask for... maybe Michael Moore could add that
clip to his next movie?  The second, involves my interpreters.  As I have
intimated to you previously, one of my main jobs is to manage the pool of Iraqi
civilian interpreters that works with the Battalion. Over the course of my year
here I have grown quite close to my group of Iraqi friends, and I can accurately
gauge the successfulness of our mission on their actions and reactions to what
we do and say.  We made it a point, to ensure that all of our interpreters was
able to vote yesterday- I have never seen the
m happier than when they returned with their right index finger covered in blue
ink- the sign that an Iraqi had already voted.  This morning, I spoke with our
head interpreter, of whom I am very fond.  He said to me, "Captain, you know,
yesterday I was very proud, for the first time in my life, I felt like an Iraqi,
I felt like my country had a future- and I am very proud of her."  I will let
those comments stand alone.  Finally, a word on the Iraqi Army, whose training
and maturation has been a focus of my battalion's for the last year.  When we
first arrived in Iraq, we received a rag-tag group of Iraqis from all walks of
life who were not even able to defend their own base camp.  Since that time,
through hard and disciplined training, and some bumps and bruises along the way,
they have grown into a capable and ever-improving unit.  But never would I have
believed the speed of growth possible that was displayed over the past three
days.  Here are men whose paychecks are
intermittent.  They have no base surrounded by US guards to return to at the end of
a mission.  Their families are not safely tucked away in Germany or the States-
yet for three days, through multiple attacks, they held their ground. 
Yesterday, I saw them operate with pride- pride in a country that they are
helping to create.  I also saw the smiles and warmth of a populace beginning to
appreciate their efforts... and a sense of pride thrust back upon those
soldiers, the pride of parents who admire the efforts of their children as they
grow and come into their own.  This morning, at a daily security meeting that I
attend with the Operations officer and my counterpart in the Iraqi Army
Battalion, the Iraqi Army Operations Officer, turned to myself and my operations
officer and said, " I would like to say something. In a short while, you will
leave us for your homes. You will inevitably move on to train a new unit, a new
group of soldiers, and you will forget us- but we will NEVER 
forget you, for you are our teachers and you brought us FREEDOM."  Again, these
words take no comment from me to drive home the point. 
I will close with this thought. I read the excerpts of Senator Kerry's interview
with Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" this morning.  I agree with the Senator on
most of what he said.  And as he was in Iraq only two weeks prior he speaks with
some understanding when he talks about the state of the Iraqi Army and the
people here.  Where Senator Kerry misses the mark is that he fails to understand
that two weeks ago, would have been in total agreeance- and not have thought
possible the activities of yesterday. But I was here and he was not. And through
the hard work and efforts of the US forces present here, but more importantly
through the sacrifice and perseverance of the people of Iraq, a great victory
was won.  Zarqawi has been shown to be what he is, a lone, weak man, awash on a
great sea of freedom, and rest assured, he will drown.  The trials are ahead of
us- the race is certainly not over, and the fight will be a long and hard one. 
But regardless of what the future 
holds, for one brief shining moment, the people of Iraq spoke, and in doing so,
reminded me of why I serve my country so willingly.

with love,

your son

David.