home > 9-11 > Letter to a Friend in the Military


This letter was written by a friend of mine, a firefighter in Massachusetts, to a friend of ours who is in the military, currently stationed in North Carolina.  I thought it was a very moving letter and that it would give people some insight as to the philosophy of the heroes of our country.  Thanks to Chris for allowing me to share his thoughts with you!


Good on Ya!

Through my travels and life experiences I have learned a great many things.  One of those things is that it takes a special man to Go where no other man would Dare. TO DO what other men only CLAIM that they would DO.

With the events of the past week at hand I must praise you for your coming actions. Whether it be a stinging slap on the back or a push through the door,  The Men That Enter... Gain Honor Where Other Men Flee!

I remember a time years past, (though not so long ago in memory), when I was asked to conduct interviews with the Brothers [of our fraternity]. There was one question I asked which led to the deeper side of each Brother's soul.

I Asked each Brother, "How do you want to Die?"

I received many simple answers involving the presence of family, friends, and a final peaceful drifting off to sleep. I also received a few outlandish answers. One brother wished "to race in the Indy 500, Win and Drive head-first into the nearest brick wall!" Another Brother discussed the colorful imaginings of "taking a Shit-load of PCP and jumping feet-first into a tree shredder." Though each answer held its own revelations, my answer in its finest simplicity, differed from that of all.

I throw the question to you and ask that you think...

Know however it is not intention to suggest any outcome for future events. Do not misunderstand my line of thought. I offer instead a stepping stone for which you can take pride and gain courage ... at a time it may be needed most.

"How is it Erik? How do You want to Die?"

My answer Erik,  Is and Always Will Be:

"I do not care how I die. I merely want to know that my death saved someone else's life."

So much life has been lost in the devastating tragedies of last Tuesday, it is difficult for many to understand the adventure for freedom you are about to undertake, as such an adventure. Those of us who do understand however, never know when our time will come and our adventure will end, nor do we know of the adventure's greater role on the whole of the world. We merely live each day planning for the next.

As a Fire Fighter I often feel the ache in my heart of wondering, "Will today be the day?"  We never know. We try not to think about what is said when we leave the house. We do not worry if it is the last we will know of our homes ... our wives .. and our children. Rather we do not think at all. We Act. We React. We do what is meant to be done. We NEVER stop to think.

The collapsing of the World Trade Center took many of my Brother Fire Fighters and made their last good-bye ... Their Last Good-bye. (For them, I Thank You)

This country was built on the shoulders of men such as yourself, Men who stand where others ... would, Men who do what others ... could, Men who have done what others ... should.

I am proud of you. America is proud of you... America damned well loves you!  You protect the unprotected. You stand for our freedom and you deserve to know We Thank You!

I look forward to your safe return.