Letter to the Editor: Honor the dead, help Iraqis vote in California

Editor:

I was a soldier. While in Iraq, I witnessed an Iraqi father exhale his last dying Arabic words only moments after begging me to take his 10-year-old son to America.

Insurgents brutally killed one of my Iraqi translators. I attended the memorial services of 15 soldiers who were shot down on their way home for leave.

There was the memorial service of a friend, Staff Sgt. Stephen Bertolino, who was killed in a 40-minute firefight.And the services of Cpl. Carl, Chief Warrant Officer Gukeisen, Chief Warrant Officer Dusen, Sgt. Williams, Spc. Chance III, 1st Lt. Adams, and many others killed in the line of duty.

They, Americans and Iraqis alike, had one thing in common-the desire for democracy and freedom in Iraq.

Your yellow magnetized ribbon stuck on the back of your car won’t bring them back, or help the cause they died for, any more than a veteran finding the bottom of a bottle will. If you truly wish to “support our troops” like your ribbon says, you must take action!

Last Friday, I witnessed more than 50 Utah Iraqis leave to California to register so they can vote in the upcoming Iraqi election. You can do one of two things (or both) if you wish to support our troops, our mission, our community, America and the Iraqi people.

First, you may donate money to help them pay the high expense of the 1,400-mile journey they must make on Jan. 28. Donations may be made to the Iraqi Election Support Fund at any Zion’s Bank branch. Then, you can join me and others to give them the supportive send off they deserve.

They will be pulling out from the Alrasool Islamic Center located at 470 East Stanley Ave. (3180 South) in South Salt Lake City at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28.

This will not bring back those who gave their lives in the name of democracy, but it will honor their memory.

I was a solider, now I am a student, and I am asking you to stand with me in support of the Iraqi patriots of our Utah community.

Bryan Catherman

Senior, Political Science

OIF Veteran