Earlier this year Willie received heartbreaking news from one of “her” Soldiers in Iraq. The family of an Iraqi Soldier with whom he trained had become victims of a terrorist bomb attack. The Iraqi Soldier's wife and one of his daughters sustained burns while the other daughter, a 2-year old, later died of her injuries.
Willie offered to send condolence letters from fellow Soldiers’ Angels:
"...Thank you, Willie, for your condolences and prayers. I am sure that Maria's parents would appreciate the gesture…. Of course there is nothing that we can do to replace their loss, but like everything in life there is something to be learned or reaffirmed from this.
To me, the lesson is that life is precious like freedom and should never be taken for granted. We should always enjoy the company of our loved ones and friends and not fret over silly things that can cause problems because we can never know when our time will come. "Don't sweat the small stuff!" I was told, and that means there are things in life more worthwhile than worrying about stuff.
I think that how we live our life and those other lives we touch along the way is more important than how long we live. Maria lived a short life, but she touched a lot of people along the way. She will not be forgotten, and her legacy will live on through how we conduct our lives and exercise our right to be free."
So life goes on in this part of the world. Just gotta stay focused and continue to try and make a difference....."
Recently, Willie received an update from the Soldier:
"... I received them (your condolences letters) about three weeks ago and I posted them a couple of days after I got them. I posted them for the rest of the soldiers in our bunker to see how people from all over support the Iraqi soldiers, and I also wanted our Iraqi interpreters to read the letters to know that not only do U.S. soldiers get letters of encouragement from the U.S., but so do Iraqi Army soldiers too. Please convey my sincere thanks and appreciation to all the "angels" and people who took the time to write. Another U.S. soldier who works directly with the Iraqi soldier who lost his daughter made sure that the letters got to him and his unit...."
Condolence letters to an Iraqi soldier on the loss of his daughter in a terrorist bomb attack with Arabic translations. They were posted in the bunker of a US unit tasked with training Iraqi forces.
Just one of the many examples of the sense of compassion that separates us from the terrorists. Thank you, Soldier. And thank you, Angels and Friends.
Read more about this Soldier's unit, the Konohiki Task Force, in this March 24, 2005 article in The Honolulu Advertiser. The TF is a group of Hawai'i National Guard and Reserve soldiers who are living and training with Iraqi soldiers. At the time the article was written, little Maria had not yet succumbed to the injuries sustained in the terrorist firebombing.