Friday, October 16, 2009

"From Baghdad, With Love"

The people I worked at the shelter with got me a book for my going-away party called "From Baghdad, With Love". I'm sure you've all heard about this book. It was written by Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman of the United States Marine Corps. It's about a unit from Hawaii called the "Lava Dogs" that find this little puppy and hide him in their barracks until they figure out how they can get him home back to the states. However, there are laws in the military against befriending stray animals, wild or domesticated, and there were contractors hired to shoot stray animals that fed on the flesh of dead bodies around the base. Kopelman, being a Marine, is a hard-ass and doesn't want to get attached to this puppy, but as you'd suspect, he does.

My co-workers got this book for me because I work with animals and my husband is in the Marines. I'm a veteran wife, I know how the Marine Corps works and I know how Marines work. You'd think I'd read and heard it all and that I'm probably just as much of a hard-ass as my husband. Well I am. However, as I was reading this book, I came across a couple paragraphs that truely touched me, in a way that nothing I've ever read has. It basically sums up the Marines and what they live and die for. I couldn't stop reading these paragraphs over and over again.

"It's not because we didn't belong or didn't like team sports, and it's not because we couldn't afford college or were manipulated by recruiters or dumped by some chick and then had to prove a point. Those guys joined the army. We didn't have rotten childhoods, we didn't hate math, we didn't bully skinny kids on the playground and didn't start fires in the garage.

And it's not like we joined up without thinking about it, or like once we got in they didn't give us time to think about it. Believe me, sleep deprivation, food rationing, and sit-ups make you think a whole hell of a lot about it. We weren't coerced. We weren't brainwashed. Our souls weren't plundered.

We just can't help it.

We aren't cut out for anything else. We were Marines going in and Marines coming out. We don't want to take orders.

And you want to know something? I don't care anymore. I used to, when I first joined up. I worried about my parents' objections, my college buddies' sneers, being called a "jarhead" for the rest of my adult life. But hell if I could help it. The minute I signed on the dotted line, I had this sort of out-of-body party that hasn't been matched since.


Listening to these guys snore around me [Marines], I really like what I am-a Marine. I like being strong. I like being brave. I like going in first. I want to go in first, and I'll be damned if I'm going to let anyone shoot my puppy."

Lieutenant Colonal Jay Kopelman and "Lava".

I emailed this passage to my husband (he's currently deployed in Iraq), and he said, because Marines are men of few words, "Yup, that's pretty much it."

I'm not finished with the book yet, but I couldn't help but share that passage. I'm sure they'll be more where that came from soon.


  1. WOW! What a beautiful story! Just wanted to drop a line to say hi and that I am the newest member of your blog. Come check out my adventures at

    Looking forward to more blog posts!
    Chi Kisses,