I’m a bit late to the party talking about Michael Monsoor, but I want to mention him; maybe not so much to discuss what he did, but to discuss those like him. Monsoor, a U.S. Navy SEAL, died in Al Ramadi, Iraq on September 29th, 2006. His official U.S. Navy biography (www.Navy.mil) states:
- On that day, Monsoor was part of a sniper overwatch security position with three other SEALs and eight Iraqi Army (IA) soldiers. An insurgent closed in and threw a fragmentation grenade into the overwatch position. The grenade hit Monsoor in the chest before falling to the ground. Positioned next to the single exit, Monsoor was the only one who could have escaped harm. Instead, he dropped onto the grenade to shield the others from the blast. Monsoor died approximately 30 minutes later from wounds sustained from the blast. Because of Petty Officer Monsoor’s actions, he saved the lives of his 3 teammates and the IA soldiers.
I will not attempt to interpret the above event. I don’t want to disrespect it in any way. What I will say is that I am humbled by the sacrifice. When I think about the day-to-day decisions we face stateside (burger or sandwich) or that which causes us stress (jerk neighbor with a barking dog) and compare these with the risks and related decisions Monsoor lived and died with… the conclusion seems obvious.
What struck me more powerfully than Monsoor’s actions was what his sister said during an interview with CNN.com. When speaking of her brother, she asked us to be mindful that events like the one that cost her brother his life happen every day. This is what causes me pause. Michael Monsoor stands out because his sacrifice was so dramatic, and I’m glad to remember him, yet he is far from alone. There are thousands of men and women with the dedication and willingness to leave the safety of their hometowns and risk their lives. Surely none want to be injured or lose their lives, but they all know it is possible and sign on despite the risks.
When the soldiers complete their tours and return home, I believe we, who live in the peace created by their efforts, should step up and support them. That’s why I have decided to dedicate a portion of the profits from Hammerhead to support disabled veterans. I love my country and the life my family and I have here. I may not always agree with the politicians making decisions, but I will always support those who go and risk and sacrifice. When these men and women return home, they need and deserve our support.
I ask those reading this to consider their lives, and hold them up in light of those who leave behind coffee stands, tablet computers, and Saturday nights on the town in order to fight so we may have those things. Picture yourself in their shoes for a moment. Imagine yourself parked on a mountain road, sitting in the canvas seat of a Humvie. Sunlight scatters off the shattered rear view mirror. You haven’t showered in three months, and you still have bloods stains on the right shoulder of your BDU’s from the soldier who used to ride beside you. Michael Monsoor gave his life so that his teammates could come home. His struggle is over, and may he rest in peace. But as his sister asked of us, we must remember there are thousands like him, and when those men and women come home—injured and tired, with a head full of memories—we need to be there for them. We should be.