War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

two letters from the mailbag

I’ve received thousands of contacts from readers. I’d say 50/50 mil./civilian.

here are some excerpts from a pair that just came in. I think both the civilian and the military guy heard a rebroadcast of my Elegy for an Infantryman on CBC Radio Saskatchewan.

what’s particularly gratifying is that one of the letters comes from an old warrior who looked out the side of his eyes at me in a seriously skeptical fashion when I first met him at “Spin” last May in Wainwrightistan. he didn’t exactly make my life easy. kept me out of the radio room etc. etc. until we were rocketed and then evacuated. wasn’t quite sure what the hell I was doing down there in the middle of a village.

it was a huge surprise when I ran into him outside the wire in Afghanistan in November when I flew out to watch Delta Coy. in action. the old warrior was working with CIMIC on special development projects (think wells), and the chances of him being in X where I landed were pretty damned slim. I ran off the chopper with my gear, removed my helmet, my ballistics, as the Minister of Defence and a General or two took my place on the Chinook, and was greeted by the Major who pressed a coin into my hand and said, “you’re one of the family now, welcome” (coins are a mil. tradition. I received another from the CDS in May).

anyway, a booming voice echoed across the courtyard of the abandoned Russian schoolhouse where I made my home for the short time I was with the rifle coy. “Civvie! what the hell are you doing here?” big hug and laugh. “I finish what I set out to do Captain”

so here is an excerpt from Capt. X’s letter to me today. I feel gratified that even old school warriors finally are beginning to get what I’m trying to do.

Hope this note finds you happy and healthy and that you remember me as I certainly remember you. As I was driving to the gym today, I caught you reading one of your Afghanistan poems, on CBC radio. It ended speaking of grape fields row on row on row, etc.
You have my respect for living the experience rather than just writing about. You put yourself in harms way just like the rest of us. For that, BRAVO ZULU!!!

Captain X

and here’s the civvie letter I just received

I just heard one of your poems recited over CBC radio and it has brought me to tears and dropped me to my knees in the frustrating re-realization that the first rule of war is people die.
I have worked abroad for the past 20 years and crossed paths with our/other country men and women whom have sacrificed their lives in the pursuit of peace.
How ironic and injust that so many must die for such a glorious cause.
Thank you so much for what you contribute to remind those of us that will listen that peace, love and understanding are the basis for the civilization and humanity that we all dream of.
I will be passing your thoughts to others in hopes of making a differance.

Sincerely and with best regards, W

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled two letters from the mailbag. It was posted here on June 23, 2010.


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