Yes, it has been a while since I've contributed anything to Palin Drone, so when I came across this remarkable story via the Anchoress, I knew it was time to get back in the game. Many of us love to pick on the French (rightfully so, in some instances) but this long overdue post would like to give credit where it's due -- to a French Infantryman in Afghanistan who has only undiluted praise for his American allies. Thanks to Jules Crittendon, whom I believe was the original blogger on the story. I sure hope the folks back in France, as well as the anti-troop lefties here in America take the time to read the words of this honorable Frenchman:
“We have shared our daily life with two US units for quite a while - they are the first and fourth companies of a prestigious infantry battalion whose name I will withhold for the sake of military secrecy. To the common man it is a unit just like any other. But we live with them and got to know them, and we henceforth know that we have the honor to live with one of the most renowned units of the US Army - one that the movies brought to the public as series showing “ordinary soldiers thrust into extraordinary events”. Who are they, those soldiers from abroad, how is their daily life, and what support do they bring to the men of our OMLT every day ? Few of them belong to the Easy Company, the one the TV series focuses on. This one nowadays is named Echo Company, and it has become the support company.
They have a terribly strong American accent - from our point of view the language they speak is not even English. How many times did I have to write down what I wanted to say rather than waste precious minutes trying various pronunciations of a seemingly common word? Whatever state they are from, no two accents are alike and they even admit that in some crisis situations they have difficulties understanding each other.
Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins and creatine - they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them - we are wimps, even the strongest of us - and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans.
Here we discover America as it is often depicted : their values are taken to their paroxysm, often amplified by promiscuity and the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley. Honor, motherland - everything here reminds of that : the American flag floating in the wind above the outpost, just like the one on the post parcels. Even if recruits often originate from the hearth of American cities and gang territory, no one here has any goal other than to hold high and proud the star spangled banner.
Each man knows he can count on the support of a whole people who provides them through the mail all that an American could miss in such a remote front-line location : books, chewing gums, razorblades, Gatorade, toothpaste etc. in such way that every man is aware of how much the American people backs him in his difficult mission. And that is a first shock to our preconceptions : the American soldier is no individualist. The team, the group, the combat team are the focus of all his attention.
That last paragraph reminds me of a letter I received from a British soldier this past September, in which he thanked me profusely for the care packages I'd donated via Move America Forward, Soldiers Angels and the web-a-thon-they'd put together back in June. Some of the contents had been shared with him by an American soldier, one of many who sympathizes with his British counterparts for the abject lack of support they receive from their own countrymen.
In the frenzy of election hype and politics, it is sometimes easy to forget the uniqueness of the United States of America and its citizens. The majority of Americans genuinely regard our troops as the heroes they are, and as a result, demonstrate tangible support (not merely lip service) through the donation of goods and money. And while some on the left may scoff at us "yokels" who take the work of our military very seriously, it is gratifying to know that it does not go unnoticed by allied soldiers serving on behalf of their countrymen. I only wish that the citizens of France and England would demonstrate the same high regard for their enlisted men and women.
God bless all of the allied troops, the writer of this article and everyone who understands that freedom isn't free. Particularly with Thanksgiving around the corner, it's one of the most important things to be grateful for!