Sleep Peacefully Tonight

No; it’s not National BBQ Day.


It seems to me that too many people have no idea what Memorial Day stands for or why it is important. It’s always been my hope that by sharing details of a specific event that we would all gain a greater appreciation of what Lincoln meant when he said that “they gave the last full measure of devotion”. To that end, here is a list of my previous Memorial Day entries.

Memorial Day

On Eternal Patrol

They Were Expendable

No Greater Love

Some Gave All

This year’s entry is based on a great article from Business Insider about a speech given by then-Lt General John Kelly, four days after he lost his own son.

Nine years ago, two US Marines from very different walks of life met for the first time when they were put on guard duty at 7:30 in the morning…

Just minutes later, the pair of Marines guarding a gate in Ramadi, Iraq, were staring down a large blue truck packed with 2,000 pounds of explosives. They could have sought cover, like an Iraqi policeman on the scene who ran away and lived.

Instead, Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter and Cpl. Jonathan Yale stood their ground…

Because there were no US witnesses of the event, General Kelly went to Ramadi to interview the Iraqi policeman that did see the incident to increase the odds of posthumous medals being awarded. One of the Iraqi policemen told him:

“Sir, in the name of God no sane man would have stood there and done what they did.”

“No sane man.”

“They saved us all.”

Here is General Kelly’s summary of the incident based on his interviews and a review of security camera footage:

You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. Putting myself in their heads I supposed it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. Exactly no time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: ” … let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.”

The two Marines had about five seconds left to live. It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time the truck was half-way through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were—some running right past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live.

For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines’ weapons firing non-stop…the truck’s windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the son-of-a-bitch who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers—American and Iraqi—bedded down in the barracks totally unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground. If they had been aware, they would have known they were safe … because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber.

The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live.

The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God.

Six seconds.

Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty … into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight—for you.

Because of two brave Marines standing watch, 50 fellow Marines and 100 Iraqi policemen lived to fight another day. This incident reminded me of a line frequently attributed to George Orwell:

People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

About VaWolf82

Engineer living in Central Va. and senior curmudgeon amongst SFN authors One wife, two kids, one dog, four vehicles on insurance, and four phones on cell plan...looking forward to empty nest status. Graduated 1982


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This topic contains 13 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  rthomas44 4 months ago.

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    No; it’s not National BBQ Day.

    [See the full post at: Sleep Peacefully Tonight]



    George Orwell may not have uttered the line that ended the post, even though it is frequently attributed to him:

    People Sleep Peacefully in Their Beds at Night Only Because Rough Men Stand Ready to Do Violence on Their Behalf



    Thank you for the post VaWolf82. May God bless America. May God bless the families of those who have fallen in service of their country.

    Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.



    We are the land of the free because of the brave-thanks to all…



    That’s a powerful way to remember the fallen. Thank you.
    I spent a good part of the afternoon tidying up my Dad’s grave (and Mom’s and uncles’).
    It’s a peaceful cemetery out in the country. No noise, nice breeze, and overlooking grain fields and forests. A good place to remember and appreciate the deeds of the fallen.
    Dad was a P-51 pilot in the European theatre. He lost several good friends, but did return to have a family and live a long life.


    john of sparta

    Even as it stands, the Home Guard could only exist in a country where men feel themselves free. The totalitarian states can do great things, but there is one thing they cannot do: they cannot give the factory-worker a rifle and tell him to take it home and keep it in his bedroom. THAT RIFLE HANGING ON THE WALL OF THE WORKING-CLASS FLAT OR LABOURER’S COTTAGE, IS THE SYMBOL OF DEMOCRACY. IT IS OUR JOB TO SEE THAT IT STAYS THERE.



    Fine sentiments all around. Thanks, VA.

    Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy. Mao Zedong



    My Uncle Al passed away this past year. He was a Marine in Europe in WWII. My Dad said he talked about seeing one soldier after another pick up the American flag after the previous bearer was killed or wounded. My family is very fortunate to have never lost anyone in war. I’m grateful for the sacrifice of so many other families that has kept us free.



    Sorry, but we’re not going to discuss politics or even military strategy/incompetence on this thread.




    I’m sitting here in the hospital with my father who served 1951-1953. He was 16 in 1945 and the only reason he got into Georgia Tech was because there was a war going on. I don’t believe that for one second. Yesterday he told my wife and I some Fort Bliss stories.



    My Father passed away this morning. I really thought we lost him back on 8/27 but he just kept fighting on and on. He got drafted for the Korean war but was the only engineer, besides one other draftee, out of 50 guys in his group. They sent both of them off to spend 2 years testing equipment for the military in the desert. They flew some of the earliest remote control aircraft to be shot down during pilot training. They also shot off a couple of V2 rockets brought back from Germany. General Motors came out with a new automatic engine but the top brass were skeptical of it with regards to on the battlefield reliability. Dad said him and a group of guys drove the hell out of them day and night. I wish I had a video of that because I never saw the man go over 40mph on a secondary street or over 50 on the highway. Never saw tobacco or alcohol at home but the one thing that stands out was how fair he was with everyone he encountered in life. Rest In Peace old boy.



    Just checked back in. Do so every month or so for old times. Rest in peace, old man Fastback. Prayers up for you, your family and loved ones.

    Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy. Mao Zedong



    Thanks for the kind words 44. Today would have been his 90th b-day. I’m sure he’s having fun.




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