Posted with permission
A Gold Star Mother’s opinion on the Presidential Election:
I am writing to you because I feel that we need to take more action to try and educate America on what the Operation Iraqi Freedom War is really about before people vote in the November election. I know everyone has their own opinion but this is mine.
I feel that if people understood all the circumstances surrounding this war maybe they would change their electoral vote and help the military make this world a better place. If the democrats win this election and withdraw the troops from Iraq then my son and all the other soldiers that have sacrificed their lives, died for nothing. If everyone took the time and really looked at all views of this war then maybe our armed forces could get more support so that they can do their jobs. People need to remember these soldiers volunteered and signed up to go to war because they believe in America and what it stands for. Without brave people like this in our world there is no telling where we would be right now.
My son Kile called me the first month of his deployment and asked me to get everyone that I know to gather up as many toys and school supplies that we could and send them to him. He said “Mom it is like trading a crayon for a bullet here and we need more crayons.” I was told by other soldiers that worked with Kile that handing out toys to the children was his favorite thing to do and that he always encouraged other soldiers to take toys out with them on their patrols. My son understood that it was the little children in Iraq that needed our help. The older children and the adults have already been convinced that America is bad. Those individuals are then convinced to fight, which makes it impossible to reason with them at this point. Kile knew that these little kids are the voice of Iraq’s future and they are witnessing firsthand the kindness of our soldiers and will remember the crayons and the support they were given by America. When these kids are old enough to go to school and the teachers try and tell them America is bad, they will know in their hearts that it is not so and they will be the ones that will make the difference for their country. It may take 20 -30 years but changing a culture takes time and if we give up on them now, these children will not ever have a chance to make their world a better place. My son also told me before he died that the sacrifice of a soldier is a much broader thing then anyone can imagine, it is not about the politics or President Bush, it is about people helping people that cannot help themselves, it is about understanding that no matter what color, race, or religion you are we are all the same. We need to remember the foundation of our existence; which is family, love and compassion. It is not about how much money you have or how big your house is because in the end these things do not matter, we are all family and we are all linked together in one way or another.
The death of a child is the worst nightmare that a parent could ever go through and I unfortunately had to be one of those parents. But the pride and the honor of who my son was and what he stood for and all that he accomplished, is what gets me through each day.
Whether you are a democrat or a republican, please take the time out to do your own research about this war. Talk to a soldier, get another view for your own knowledge before you vote, so that you can make a decision on who you want for president. Remember we do not live in a safe little bubble where no harm can be done to us. We have had war on our land before and we have had many lives lost to terrorist activity. If something happens again in America, who are you going to expect/demand to help you?
Please support our troops so that they can support your families.
Sincerely, Nanette West
Mother of 1LT Kile Grant West of the United States Army, who sacrificed his life on Memorial Day, May 28, 2007.
One of Kile's favorite photos from Iraq, of him giving a toy to a little Iraqi girl, courtesy of Mrs. West.