Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Monday, September 11, 2006


This isn't the best picture in the world, but here I am just outside FOB Hope, standing on the Iraqi Army Base. I went on a mission to Hope last week, and led a worship service for soldiers stationed there.

Today is September 11th. It's hard to believe I am in Iraq for the 5th anniversary of 9-11, but I am very proud to be here. This morning we watched a documentary on 9-11 at the chapel; it was produced by a couple of filmakers trying to capture the experiences of being a rookie firefighter. They ended up being the only ones to catch the first plane hitting the WTC on video. It was a moving commentary, and it was good for all of us to watch it.

While September 11th was not conducted by Saddam Hussein, I have to say that the longer I am here, the more convinced I am that it is all connected. Freedom and the American style of democracy is crucial to the future of our world. Allowing women the right to be human beings...allowing people to be free to choose their leadership...allowing people to be free to worship God, without persecution. That is what it is about. If we can do that, it will be the single greatest deterrent to terrorism.

While this war is difficult, I believe we will prevail. You see, the enemy is simply not very good at war. In fact, they are terrible. They have no capacity to conduct a single victorious military operation, even though they are being trained by Syria and Iran. They are, however, good at randomly killing both Iraqis and American soldiers. They can launch rockets at mortars at us, but if they ever actually tried attacking an American FOB, they would be soundly defeated before they ever got close to the front "door." They can never WIN this war, but they can continue to cause pain and suffering for a time. Counter-insurgency wars are by definition lengthy wars, and it remains to be seen how long we will wait. As difficult as it may be, I pray that we are willing to remain for the long haul.


Anonymous Tracy said...

I received this in my email today and wanted to share it with you. Know there are many of us out here praying and thanking you for all you do.

Meet me in the Stairwell

You say you will never forget where you were when you heard the news on September 11, 2001. Neither will I. I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room with a man who called his wife to say "Good-bye." I held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the peace to say, "Honey, I am not going to make it, but it is OK, I am ready to go." I was with his wife when he called as she fed breakfast to their children. I held her up as she tried to understand his words and as she realized he wasn't coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell on the 23rd floor when a woman cried out to Me for help. "I have been knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!" I said. "Of course I will show you the way home -- only believe in Me now."

I was at the base of the building with a Priest ministering to the injured and devastated souls. I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, with every prayer. I was with the crew as they were overtaken. I was in the very faith that saved them.
I was in Texas, Kansas, London. I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news. Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew every name -- though not all know Me. Some met Me for the first time on the 86th floor. Some sought Me with their last breath. Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the smoke and flames: "Come to Me … this way … take my hand." Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me. But I was there.

I did not place you in the Tower that day. You may not know why, but I do. However, if you were there in that explosive moment in time, would you have reached for Me? September 11, 2001, was not the end of the journey for you. But someday your journey will end. And I will be there for you as well. Seek me now while I may be found. Then, at any moment, you may know you are "ready to go." I will be the stairwell on your final moments.

God, Our Father

8:35 PM  
Anonymous candy hay said...

Hello and thanks for your great info on your life there. I enjoy reading your posts and seeing your pictures. I just wanted to let you know that I have Tony in my Saturday night Sunday School class which started this week. This year the group is 4th, 5th and 6th grade. I appreciate the oppy to work with these kids who already have a great understanding of faith. Take care and be safe. Candy Hay

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Chris:

Everyone is finding your blog site interesting and informative. Diane and I went to church on Sunday in the Caymans at the Ritz-Carlton; where the Missouri Synod has established a mission church thanks to the Schwan Foundation. It reminded me a great deal of your services at Lutheran Church of the Cross with a very young and vibrant congregation with a similar service.

I would guess that you're finding your services there to be comforting and helpful to the young soldiers working under very difficult circumstances.

Love, Dad

8:14 PM  

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