My heart is filled with love and regard for both you and Talitha. We have a saying in the military: “we serve, the family sacrifices.” I know you are at a loss for words and I can understand. When I left for both tours, Sandy could only say, “I love you” while inside she was proud, angry and hugely burdened. On the other hand, I and every soldier has difficulty saying what we feel because the emotions of fear, pride, honor, love for family and concern all rush together at the same time creating a bottleneck of words and emotions. After I had deployed, I was finally able to express my feelings in a prayer which I imagine is what Tyson is feeling. I have attached it. I hope maybe it is a comfort to you and your daughter. Feel free to share/use it however you wish.
Just know that I understand, love, care and support you any way I can,
It’s me Lord.
Sometimes I don’t know what to say to You especially when war looms so near.
As dawn breaks, I hear a bird sing and realize that Your peace is still present even in the midst of such awful anticipation.
Right now, my mind is dancing with memories of all those I love so much.
Like a kaleidoscope I see faces of friends and family;
I see places and things;
I hear songs and laughter and joy and they make my heart smile.
Lord I wish I could be in church right now just to hold hands with my wife and sing a song of wonderful praise.
Just to be there one more time.
Oh Dear Lord, thank you for these precious memories.
On this dawn of the unknown, please be with my wife, my family and loved ones.
Place Your hand on their heart and let them know Your presence. Comfort them, as You are comforting me now, with Your love.
Take away their fear, wipe the tears from their eyes and hold tight to their trembling hands.
Dear Lord let them know how very much I love them and how very close to me they are right now.
Tell them I am in Your hand; You will watch over me and I’ll be all right.
Well Lord, the time is near.
The threat of violence is on the horizon; the great engines of war are screaming across the sky and every eye is wide with great awareness.
As the hatred of the enemy is waved before us, I wonder why mankind has to come to such a horrible confrontation.
Questions flood my mind: Will I do my job? Will this war be won? Will I live to see my family again?
Forgive me Lord for being afraid.
Please give me courage so that I might do my duty and be faithful to my country and my fellow soldiers.
Oh Lord help me understand the right to self-defense, the nature of retribution and the wisdom to know the difference.
Somehow, let peace and love and freedom be born out of this trial.
Let the world see and know Your truth, Your love and Your redemption.
As we march now into the future I hear the words so clearly that I learned in Sunday school years ago:
“Yea, though I walk through the valley and shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff shall comfort me”.
I know you are here.
I feel so small and unworthy right now.
My heart begs that you protect me and keep me safe.
Throughout this trial, let me be brave, let me be true, let me be honorable.
I am a soldier Lord, please never let me fall from your hand.
In Jesus name
Lt Col James Patterson
12 October 2001
Deploying to Southwest Asia
Operation ENDURING FREEDOM