I have dedicated this page of the PMI web site to our nation's military. For it is their great sacrifice and commitment that allow people such as myself to live out our dreams while sleeping safely and comfortably in our beds at night.
I, myself, have made that sacrifice and commitment. I know full well the luxury of being able to go to sleep at night with my wonderful wife and children in a home that has running water and electricity and be able to do it without artillery fire in the background. I appreciate the luxury of being able to hear an alert siren and know it is for bad weather and not incoming rounds. I appreciate the luxury of waking up to a hot breakfast prepared by my wife and not an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) that the Army issued me in lieu of the above mentioned hot meal. I appreciate the luxury of being able to take a hot shower because in the field, if you are lucky enough to get a shower, they are rarely hot. I candidly remember times during my time down range when food and water was a luxury and nothing tasted better than the 'Turkey & Gravy' MRE. And, every now and then, I managed to hustle up a couple of Mars bars.
Now, our oldest son, JD, is among those serving our country. He is a Ranger in the US Army’s 1st Ranger Battalion and has served in Afghanistan and will likely do so many more times. It is humbling to have a child on the front lines because as a parent all you want to do is protect them, but you are unable to do so. Rangers are the best trained soldiers in the world and we trust that his training and will to survive will continue to bring him home to us.
I always find it funny when people complain about their food or their sleeping accommodations or even dirty bathrooms. My good friend and fellow medic and paratrooper, Jeff Majdali, wrote me a letter after we got out of the Army and I still have it in my office to this day. In the letter he refers to a number of things that we had dealt with in Central America and in the Middle East just to survive day to day. Namely he referred to the MRE's and also to how we had to pull the cans from the outhouses on a daily basis and burn the human waste. That's right, burn it. There were not any bathrooms with marble floors or even toilets to flush. And this is if you were lucky enough to find an outhouse. Jeff and I were medics and took care of more malnourished babies and people than I care to count. We watched people in Central America work their fingers to the bone for $7.00 a week... that's right, per week. We treated and protected people that could not otherwise treat or protect themselves.
In his letter he made a comment that has always stuck with me: ".... people should stop complaining about what they don't have and appreciate what they do have.....". I have never forgot that and because of that quote I have been able to appreciate every facet of my life because I take the time to enjoy it. Anyone that knows me really well knows how much I truly treasure each and every day of my life. Likewise, Jeff is a successful businessman in California with a great wife and children and he, too, appreciates the little things.
I appreciate your time and I hope that you will continue to support and Pray for our troops down range in Iraq, Afghanistan and other non-disclosed areas where they are serving. Always remember that whether you support the war or not, our troops, just like us, have wives, children, parents, siblings, etc., so please keep them in your Prayers and do not spend a single day without thinking about the sacrifices they are making which are allowing us to live our lives safely and comfortably with our families.
Most importantly, please remember the soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice and have given their lives in defense of our great nation. Please Pray for their families and children each and every day. On my left arm I have a tattoo that reminds me daily of the lives that have been given. It is a Cross with my Airborne Wings over the top of it with 'Follow Me' across the top of the Cross. Below the Cross is my favorite Bible verse, John 15:13, which says, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends".
Now, I am going to walk into my children's bedrooms and give them a kiss and a hug and tell them I love them because I am acutely aware of the fact that there are troops down range that would do anything to be able to kiss their children right now. Once again, I am enjoying a luxury provided by our troops. I love you all and I pray that my fellow paratroopers and soldiers will come home quickly and safely, but only after their mission is complete because they would not want it any other way. God Bless.
Airborne All The Way!
CEO, Player Management International, Inc.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13
"We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." - George Orwell
"There will always be an 82D Airborne Division, because it lives in the hearts of men, and somewhere young men will dare the challenge to "stand up and hook up" and know that moment of pride and strength which is its reward."
"Nothing is dearer than life, but nothing is more precious than to live it in freedom."
"Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all the others." -- Winston Churchill
"What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think....you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude." - Emerson
Doug Barnette with fellow paratroopers at the Richmond race on May 13, 2004
Team 555, 5th Special Forces Group in front of the Embassy in Afghanistan
My close friend, Scott Zastrow, on MSNBC talking about Afghanistan