Lake Ray IV: Memorial Day from Afghanistan
Hello Friends and Readers,
I’ve been in Afghanistan for a little over four months so far. The temperature has risen and the desert is really showing true to be hot and dusty. I was assigned a new Chaplain about a month and a half ago, Chaplain (Major) L. He is a good family man and loves to get away from base camp as much as possible to visit our Soldiers. So far we have traveled more than anyone else in the unit, and seen more Soldiers than anyone else. We’ve had the chance to visit places like Alexander the Great’s Castle, places that one would never guess would be in Afghanistan. I’ve found that the people and the area are beautiful, and would be a place I would enjoy exploring more of if it weren’t a combat zone. The culture is a mix of Persian and Arabic combined to form a beautiful clash.
This Memorial Day will be my first in a combat zone having known three men from my own unit that were killed in action. It’s never easy losing Soldiers and its even harder having known them personally. They were family men all having left behind children. Two were married and one was engaged to be wed upon our return to the United States. I have seen men that have been wounded and broken in the hospital. Americans in the states will never truly see what an impact these men have made. The Afghani’s are grateful and are now able to start living more freely than they were under the Taliban regime. The children in schools are eager to learn to read and write something that is a real rarity in this country. Education is the key to making Afghanistan a better place. Too often we forget how blessed we are to be Americans and we take for granted the opportunities we have been given.
This weekend while having Barbeques, picnics or enjoying the beach take a brief moment to remember our fallen, the one’s who paid the ultimate sacrifice. If you get the chance make a visit to the Jacksonville Memorial wall and remember that the names engraved were Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen, these service members gave it all for you.
I look forward to being back in Jacksonville in the late summer.
Lake Ray, IV
Chaplain Assistant, Soldier
currently serving in Afghanistan
Lake is a chaplain's assistant deployed in Afghanistan with the Special Forces as support. He is also the son of Florida State Representative Lake Ray III.
To read some of Lake's previous submissions, click here.