My Side of the Fencepost

Understanding Sacrifice

By Jim Dickerson

Some time ago, I was given two books about the war in Iraq. The books are special to residents of this area because they include brief descriptions of the service and sacrifice of 1st Lt. Edward Iwan, as well as tributes to the Albion native who was killed during the Battle for Fallujah in 2004.

One book in particular, House to House, A Soldier’s Memoir by Staff Sgt. David Bellavia, is a graphic and riveting description of the war in Iraq and specifically the Battle for Fallujah.

This is not an easy book to read, but it gives the reader a good idea of the kinds of sacrifices we are asking — and receiving — from American soldiers who are now serving in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sgt. Bellavia, a war hero himself, doesn’t mince any words or hold back any detailed description of the front line combat in Fallujah.

In short, if war is hell, then Fallujah was the deepest darkest part of hell. We sent hundreds of Army and Marine soldiers into that hell. Yes, they were equipped with some of the best combat technology, but they were still at a disadvantage against a well-entrenched enemy.

I know there have been other battles in other wars that have been just as bloody and horrific, or maybe worse, but this was one of the most recent. It tested the mettle of a new generation of American soldiers, and they delivered. They fought, bled, died and sacrificed with tremendous courage.

We must never forget that.

So this Veterans Day, while respecting the sacrifices of all American veterans and praying for an end to all wars, I’m reserving most of my thoughts and prayers for those young Americans serving right now in the Middle East — especially those we send into the deepest darkest parts of hell.