04 January 2007

Brothers in Arms

In April, I posted a story about a Soldier's extraordinary experience with a young Iraqi girl who ran up to him asking to be picked up - almost as if she knew him.

Her father explained he had been rescued from prison shortly after the end of Saddam Hussein's brutal reign by soldiers of the 101st, and since then his daughter believed the Screaming Eagle patch represented angels sent to protect her family.

Not sure what prompted me to search for a follow up, but when I did, I found this letter from the father of a fallen Canadian Soldier to the newspaper which originally published the story above. It's from May 5 of this year.

Letter From Canada: Grieving dad thanks those who rushed to help son

I have no idea who I am writing to. I was just searching the Internet, desperately trying to find information on the four Canadian soldiers who were killed on April 22, and I came upon your Web site. I started to read and couldn't stop.

Assuming I am writing to Americans, I want to share something with you.

My son Paul joined the Canadian Forces in January 1998 and deployed to BosniaHerzegovina in 2000 and 2001.

On Jan. 23 of this year, I was in Winnipeg, Canada, seeing Paul off to Afghanistan. He was with B Company attached to the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry on Operation Archer in Kandahar.

I had taken a red-eye flight from Nova Scotia to Winnipeg and surprised him by showing up at the military airstrip in the morning just before he and his comrades arrived to prepare to leave for their mission.

He was joking and smiling with his buddies, no different than if they were a hockey team preparing to go on the ice.

While standing with him and all his comrades in the hangar at the airport, I noticed a small insignia U.S. flag on his boots. Jokingly, I kicked his ankle and said, "Paul, what's that? ..."

His comrades, hearing me, continued joking, "Yeah, Davis, you better cut that tag off. ..."

Paul's warm smile suddenly turned serious for the moment.

"No, we train with these guys and we fight alongside with them. If we get in trouble over there, they will be the first to come to our aid," he said.

As he started toward the line to board the plane and as I started toward my taxi, we turned to look at each other and made eye contact for the last time.

On March 2, Cpl. Paul James Davis of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry was killed.

The first to arrive at the scene was a United States Black Hawk helicopter.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

-- Jim Davis Nova Scotia, Canada

Seattle P-I EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davis of Nova Scotia wrote to the Seattle P-I in response to a recent Other Voices essay that ran on this page. The essay, "Dispatch from Iraq: A tiny bit of comfort," was written by National Guardsman Aric Catron, who is serving his second tour in Iraq. It motivated Davis to write in and share a story about his son.

God bless you, Mr. Davis. We're proud to stand with men like you and your son, and we're proud to stand with Canada.

Proud to Stand with You, Canada
Proud to Stand With You, Canada - Part 2
Our Canadian Friends Stand With Us Again To Show Support During Cindy's Protest
Side by Side
Happy Birthday America - Land of the Free Because of the Brave
Mak's Back!
Why do emails like this make me cry?
Landstuhl Medical Staff Honored for Extraordinary Treatment of Injured Canadian Soldiers

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