March 18, 2007
Troops in Iraq need American public's support
Allentown Morning Call, PA

I am writing because I need to let the citizens of the United States know that I support our troops over in Iraq. Whether or not we agree with this war, let it be known, that our troops are fighting for the freedoms that we take for granted.

I care because I lost my nephew, Marine Lance Corp. Brandon Joseph Van Parys on Feb. 5, at the age of 20. He was in Iraq for 20 days. I had to write because I know he was concerned about his fellow Marines. I want them to know that I care about them and pray for them and all the other military people fighting for us. This letter is written in memory of Brandon because I love him.

They read the papers and see and hear what is being said. This is their job, and it is what our commander in chief has told them to do. They are feeling that we in America are not behind them, and I agree with them. We have people who talk against the war and do not realize our soldiers take this personally, and feel it is directed at them. If you do not agree with the war, that is your right. However, you have this right to disagree or protest because of soldiers who are fighting for that right, just as our forefathers fought for freedom.

There are Marines in Iraq that feel this way. We need to stand behind our military and put aside our feelings on this because we are lowering the morale of the soldiers. They feel alone and that no one cares. But, our soldiers do have people here who care and are willing to stand up with them and for them. Most of them do not question why they are there.

All we hear about is the bad things. We do not hear about our soldiers helping to build schools, training the Iraqi soldiers and putting themselves in harm's way for the Iraqi people. Here is a message from a Marine who is in Iraq, where my nephew was: ''I see a lot of civilians back at home think this war is useless and is pointless. I can't say that I agree, but I am here for a reason and I'm going to do my job at 110 percent. No questions asked. Some people don't know what it's like going to work every morning with a good friend and wondering if you are going to see him that night before you hit the rack. Tell the family I said 'thank you' for all the support over here. We could all use a little support from the general population back in the states.''

I also have concerns about the equipment that our soldiers receive. This equipment is sometimes faulty and can jeopardize their safety and others. My nephew wrote to his father and step-mother about sending him contact lenses because the lenses of his ballistic glasses kept falling out. This makes me wonder what other equipment has failed them. With all the money that we spend on this war, why doesn't our military have what they need? They put their lives on the line every day, and we can't provide them with decent equipment. I find it appalling that we think that little of our military that we cannot provide them with the best equipment money can buy.

Doesn't anyone out there really care what happens to these men and women who put their lives on the line everyday?

Georgiana Sell lives in Allentown.