This morning when checking my email, I received 10-15 messages discussing the different levels of support that our President and our Military is receiving from the American people. Some of the things I read brought me to a very disheartened state. I ask any patriot who reads this to support their military.

 

Why do I say patriot? Because we should all be patriotic to the country we live in. If you enjoy your freedom of religion then you are a patriot, if you enjoy your freedom of speech regardless of whether you speak out against war or against terror, you are indeed a patriot, and when thousands of members of your military are sent out by your President to defend those very rights that you enjoy on a daily basis, you should indeed be patriotic in your support.

 

Don't take for granted the pleasures and luxuries you enjoy daily. Having served three proud years in the U.S. Navy and still serving proudly, I do not take those luxuries for granted. Your military sacrifices on a daily basis so that you wont have to live in fear. Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Soldiers - enlisted and officer alike - leave our wives and children, our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers to be sent to lands and seas thousands of miles from home.

 

Marines stand guard 24 hours a day surviving on MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat), waiting in dry hot deserts. Sailors man ships for eight month cruises to support amphibious and aircraft assaults. Soldiers build command posts and wait for orders from their Commander in Chief.

 

Many of these service members have spent the more than half of their lives in the military; many of them have spent half of their lives defending your freedoms. Seventeen hundred sailors and 2000 Marines aboard USS Bataan (LHD-5) have spent 18 of the last 24 months deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

 

Hundreds of Marines from the West Coast came straight from eight months in Afghanistan chasing Al-Qaeda operatives to now operate in support of a war on Iraq. Thousands of sailors and marines aboard ships like mine - the USS IWO JIMA or USS George Washington, USS San Jacinto, USS Anzio, USS Porter, USS Nashville, USS Carter Hall, USS Portland, USS Abraham Lincoln, USS Bonhomme Richard, USS Essex, USS Nassau - let me tell you the list goes on and on; we proudly serve our country in support of your freedom.

 

Sailors work 24 hour days surviving heaving seas that often times will throw you out of your rack when you're trying to get the little sleep you have time for. Marines vigilantly stand watch at Naval bases worldwide to defend from terrorism, putting their lives on the line on a daily basis. We

do all those to support you; all we ask in return is that you support us.

 

Display your flags proudly in front of your houses. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers, and next time you see an American flag, don't be to embarrassed to stop and salute, or at least give a moment of silence and prayer for the hundreds of thousands of service members that proudly defend your right to be free.

 

IT2 Jordan C. Mauriello

USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7)

Somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea