Today is the 3rd day of October. For most people, its a Saturday on the calendar and all that comes with the enjoyment of a weekend. For some, its a birthday or an anniversary or a reminder of some big event in their lives. For me, and I would think most of the men of Task Force Ranger, its a day of thanks. A day of respect. A day of recollection and remembrance. Its also a day of accountability to take stock in all that we have and how far we have come. 22 years ago, 3 Oct was a Sunday. It was a day that changed the course of our lives.
For those of us who make it back form something where others did not we will spend the rest of our lives thanking those who were on our left and right that day. Thus the day of thanks and respect. But we will also struggle with a strange sense of guilt. Why God did you let me make it out when others guys who were three times the soldier I was did not? Hopefully as time goes by, we heal up a bit, and we grow spiritually and mentally. We figure out how to circumvent that guilt and turn it into something positive. Thus the day of thanks, recollection and remembrance. We also quietly ask ourselves, what have we done with our lives to have earned such a privilege? Thus a day of accountability.
The guys I stay in touch with from that battle, I am proud to say, are all doing exceptionally well and making extraordinary contributions to their families, communities and to their nation. Stan is leading the way in aircraft design platforms. Doug is talking to the white house about the future of renewable energy sources. Mike is helping veterans navigate the long confusing road of reintegration into the real world. Randy is a fire fighter. I could go on and on bragging. The point is, we have all, I believe, used what we learned during our days in the rangers to be better leaders and try with all our might to set the example for others to follow.
Carl Stoffers of the NY Dailey news called me up the other day and we had a chance to talk. As many times as Ive been interviewed about the battle of Mogadishu, I was never asked this question. “In one word how would you describe that day for you? ” I thought for a few seconds. And the first word that jumped out was ‘Defining”. Because from that day on, 3 October, 1993, the course of our lives would change forever. It shaped who we were at the time, who we are now, and will always be a part of who we can become. Rangers Lead the Way.
To read the article in the New York Daily News click here.