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Thank You From Iraq By: George T. Schwend and SPC Mark Alvin Sapp
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, September 08, 2004

(Editors' Note: George Schwend, an American businessman, has been upgrading the tickets of American GI's sharing his flights. The following short article is written by Schwend,  followed by a thank-you letter written to him from SPC Mark Alvin Sapp, a recipient of one of the First Class upgrades).

Like many of you, I do a lot of business travel and in my travels I see a lot of our young soldiers dressed in desert camo, waiting to board the same flight I'm waiting on.  Most of them are either on their way home from Iraq or on their way back to Iraq, like the young man who wrote me the email below. 

When I see them waiting to board, I check to see if there are any first class seats available and if there are, I upgrade them to first class. It's just a small way of saying 'thank you' for the sacrifices they are making for all of us at home.  Unfortunately, there aren't always first class seats available, but I have been lucky enough to be able to upgrade eight GIs already and will continue to do so whenever I get the opportunity.  It's amazing how appreciative they are for such a minor gesture of thanks.

Today, much to my surprise, I received an email from one of these young men and remembered that he had asked me for a business card, which is how he knew my email address.  I thought you might like to read what he has to say about what he's doing over in Iraq and what it means to him.

George T. Schwend
President and CEO
Health Language, Inc.
+1 303/307-4400 (corp)
+1 903/473-0007 (direct)


Dear Mr. Schwend,

I would like to sincerely thank you for upgradeing my ticket on the 14th of July to first class .That was very nice of you and meant a lot to me.  I apologise that its taken me so long to write you this email, but things have been pretty hot where I'm at, and we dont get many chances to use the internet.  I hope you understand.

So I hear the weather in Colorado has been cooling down, sheesh, must be nice eh?  Its been getting cooler here, at least in the mornings.  It used to hit abou 100 by 0900 in the morning, and hot as heck by around noon. So hopefully about October it should be comfortable around here.

One thing I noticed about being home was that the news media sure botches the stories about Iraq and makes them pretty one sided.  It ticks me off because they dont tell the good stories that happen out here of the great partnerships between us and the new Iraqi Army, of the friendships between American Soldiers that have formed between the two nations.  It doesnt say that most all of the attacks on American Soldiers are from insurgents from other countries besides Iraq.  They dont tell you of the courage the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police Force show by fighting along side of us, despite poor equipment and ammo shortages.  A vehicular bomb went off at a checkpoint and as I arrived on the scene I saw that 90% of the guards were nothing more than burning meat on the pavement.  One soldier escaped the blast because he was under the Overpass taking a piss, inly to hear the explosion and arrive to see that his father, uncle and three brothers were killed. The news didnt show him picking up there remains and putting them in trash bags because thats all he had, as we arrived or us helping him.  It didnt show him returning to his post to stand proudly near his nations flag, with tears comming down his cheeks did it?  No, the story wasn't even covered.
Sure the news arrived, I saw them. CNN and a few others came, but all they reported was that another bomb exploded in Iraq and how many it killed. What about this man?  So I will carry his story out and tell others of his courage.  The people of Iraq for the most part want so desperatly to be free, and they want us to stay for the most part to show them HOW to be free.  That is our mission here, to earn there hearts and minds and show them through example what it means to have freedom of your own and truely be free from oppression to worship your god how you want to worship, and go to school without the threat of being blown up or killed for some political tyrrants wicked ideas.  Most of the soldiers here want to stay and fight.

Because if we left, 900+ of our nations Fathers, Sons, Husbands, Brothers, Boyfriends, Wives, Sisters, Girlfriends would have died for what? At least thats how we tend to see things.  Granted we complain like any human would about the conditions and other things, and we want to go home.
But we want to stay in Iraq as a whole to finish the mission.

Well enough of my ranting and raving. I'm sure you've got better things to do. But again, thank you for the kindness you showed me.  I never flew First Class before and it was a great treat.  Thank you again!


SPC Mark Alvin Sapp
C Co 82nd Engineer Battalion
1st Infantry Division
Near Baquoba, Iraq

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