Sunday, February 28, 2010

Canadian Parents thank U.S. Service M...

Canadian Parents thank U.S. Service Members for saving their Son
Whispers and Valentines

This short, heartfelt letter from a Canadian Mom and Dad is a must read.

Note: Will begin doing weekly interviews with Lars Larson starting this Monday.  Interviews will live on Mondays at 3:20PM Pacific; 6:20PM Eastern.

Lars also has a streaming capability for folks who cannot listen on the radio.

Very Respectfully,

Michael Yon

* * * * *

From Canada: A Thank You to U.S. Service Members

U.S. Air Force Nurse, Lucy Lehker, comforts an 'unknown' Canadian soldier after he was badly wounded in Afghanistan.

U.S. Air Force Nurse, Lucy Lehker, comforts an 'unknown' Canadian soldier after he was badly wounded in Afghanistan.

Dear Michael Yon,

Today we were sent your story of February 14, 2010. The “unknown” Canadian is our son Danny.  He is a 23-year-old soldier from Vancouver, Canada.

Your photographs were extraordinary and have impacted so many people here in Canada. There has been an outpouring of affection for the Americans who helped Danny in his moment of need.  For that, we thank you for recording these acts of kindness into history.

Danny's injuries were the result of an explosion on February 12, 2010. Four Canadian soldiers were injured and tragically one Canadian soldier was killed.  Within 20 minutes of the explosion, Danny was airlifted by helicopter to Kandahar.  Upon arrival he received emergency surgery that saved his life and prepared him for the flight to Bagram that you were on.

After landing in Bagram, Danny was again airlifted by a US transport aircraft to the US Army run Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.  There he underwent additional surgery that closed up his wounds.  Once stabilized, the Canadian government dispatched a Challenger jet to bring him home. This afternoon in Vancouver, the shrapnel that did all the damage to him was finally removed.  Danny is now recovering in hospital.

This was Danny's second tour of duty in Afghanistan and his platoon on this tour has had heavy causalities and injuries.  Physically, Danny will overcome his injuries. He also has the support of his family, his friends and his community to deal with the emotional side of this war.  Our hearts go out to those families who have had the loss of a soldier or who have had to deal with greater injuries.

Danny and his whole family are very grateful, and are actually overwhelmed, by the support he received while in US care. The Canadian military have also been wonderful.  It is our intention to personally thank everyone who worked so hard to save Danny's life. We have already made contact with Major Deborah "Lucy" Lehker to thank her.


Jim & Holly

Full Story:

Valentine's Day Weekend, Afghanistan


The War in Afghanistan has truly begun. This will be a long, difficult fight that is set to eclipse anything we’ve seen in Iraq. As 2010 unfolds, my 6th year of war coverage will unfold with it. There is relatively little interest in Afghanistan by comparison to previous interest in Iraq, and so reader interest is low. Afghanistan is serious, very deadly business. Like Iraq, however, it gets pushed around as a political brawling pit while the people fighting the war are mostly forgotten. The arguments at home seem more likely to revolve around a few words from the President than the ground realities of combat here. I can bring the ground realities, but can sustain the coverage only by the graciousness of readers. Please keep that in mind. Please click…

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Rock on, Canada...
nuff said...
Wes February 25, 2010

Danny and Thank You Letter
The "Thank You Letter" from Danny's parents brought tears to my eyes, just as the original story did. God Bless Danny and his family. God Bless all of our troops. 
Stay safe.
Arlene in CA February 25, 2010

Great story
Wow, you really outdid yourself with this one. What a wonderful human interest story. We do take care of each other in combat (UK forces helped me with my minor injuries in Iraq), but it's great to get the names dates times and places. I wish Danny's family -- and him most of all -- the best.
Jeff Smith February 25, 2010

Well done
Whatever squabbles may occur, when push comes to shove, Canada is family. Well done.
Dr. Kenneth Noisewater February 25, 2010

Ditto Thanks
Our son met Michael at FOB Cobra when there with the 278th out of Tennessee. Michael accompanied their convoy to Kandahar and joined their banquet provided by the Kurds in the countryside. His reports from that visit (although not showing a picture of our son) helped us immensely to understand the situation at the time. They were also visited by Charly Daniels and band, which lifted their spirits. Our son has gone through several surgeries related to combat and ambient conditions in that hot sandy country, and several of his mates continue to deal with ptds. I again thank you Michael. The reports are less frequent now (we are not on facebook or twitter) but are much looked forward to and appreciated. Our prayers continue for you, our soldiers, our command, and now for Danny and family.
Norm Hughes I February 25, 2010

What more can be said? What a letter. Glad to hear Danny and his family are doing alright. Thx Michael, and thanks to Jim and Holly for raising a son like Danny. Our prayers are with you during the time.
David February 25, 2010

We are all americans...
Whether you are north or south of that imaginary line; we are all Americans... Great to hear that the unknown is now known and is recovering well. in a similar theme, re: the olympics, i pull for canada as much as i do the us, because in the end, we are the same people, americans and i hope they feel the same.
Scott from TX February 25, 2010

I've followed this story with a lump in my throat and knew as a parent I would be so very grateful for the loving care administered by Major "Heartlight" Lehker and whole crew if my son had been the wounded individual. I originally sent the February 14 post by Mr. Yon out to others with the lyrics to "Heartlight" by Neil Diamond attached. They seemed so fitting; they are posted below. It seems appropriate that our attention is focused to Vancouver, BC and not just because of the Olympics held there at this time. Please continue to support Mr. Yon's valuable coverage as I do. 

Come back again 
I want you to stay next time 
'Cause sometimes the world ain't kind 
When people get lost like you and me 
I just made a friend 
A friend is someone you need 
But now that he had to go away 
I still feel the words that he might say 

Turn on your heartlight 
Let it shine whereever you go 
Let it make a happy glow 
For all the world to see 

Turn on your heartlight 
In the middle of a young boy's dream 
Don't wake me up too soon 
Gonna take a ride across the moon 
You and me 

He's lookin' for home 
'Cause everyone needs a place 
And home's the most excellent place of all 
And I'll be right here if you should call me 

Turn on your heartlight 
Let it shine whereever you go 
Let it make a happy glow 
For all the world to see 

Turn on your heartlight 
In the middle of a young boy's dream 
Don't wake me up too soon 
Gonna take a ride across the moon 
You and me 

Turn on your heartlight now 
Turn on your heartlight now 
Wendye in WA February 25, 2010

Thank you neighbors
Great letter and a great soldier. My thanks to all the Canadian soldiers and their families. We are lucky to have friends like you.
Joe Thomas February 25, 2010

Mailing address for that crew
Can you provide a surface mail address for that USAF Squadron . . . a lot of people want to say thnx
Tear in my eye February 25, 2010

Canadian soldier...
While I don't have children, this story nonetheless brought a lump to my throat and misty eyes. This is what we're supposed to do - Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You. It won't happen on this earth as a whole, but stories of human caring still do happen here and there demonstrating the love and compassion we can have for each other. Thanks Michael for being there and recording the neat and good side of history, too. 

Good to hear that Danny is doing well.
Dori February 25, 2010

Get this out...
Somehow, someway, this story needs to be pushed out to those for whom this war is merely a political football to be tossed around for political gain. This story should go hand and hand with that picture of the soldier holding that girl with head injuries. 

The fight against Jihadism needs to have a face put on it and this is one.
Timothy Paul Roesch February 25, 2010

Thank You, Canada !

What a lovely letter from Danny's Mom & Dad. But the thanks should really go in the other direction. Americans should thank Danny for his courage and willingness to serve and to his Mom & Dad for their love and support of Danny. No American or Canadian likes war, but sometimes our hand is forced and we must respond. Canada has proven a valued ally many times. As a Seattle suburbanite, my wife and I have traveled frequently to Vancouver and other parts of Canada, and have always met with warmth and good will from our Canadian neighbors. So to this American, this is just further compelling evidence that our good neighbor to the North abundantly harbors such quality people, and shares in our love of freedom. 

So, Thank you Danny. Thank you Jim & Holly. 
May our two countries always share such warm camaraderie and fundamental values. 

Mark S 
Bellevue, Wa
Mark S February 25, 2010

Compassion and Dignity
What a wonderful family. My prayers are with Danny, his family and his community as they help him on the road to heal. The medical teams from many nations do an exemplary job. They are dedicated to easing pain and suffering, and each day show dedication and compassion. They have no divisions when it comes to age, country of origin, or even politics. They are true servants of God, there to help the wounded, and assist those who are dying or have passed, go onto the other side with dignity and care. They continue to do so even though they often come under fire. The work through fear to bring compassion to others. They are heroes in my mind, but to them, they are simply doing their job. I write about this over on my blog, The Kitchen Dispatch. My husband is part of medical team.
Kanani February 25, 2010

Michael Yon is an award winning journalist and photographer who has not yet been fully recognized by his peers. But he will be I have no doubt. As for the story and picture, all I can say is WOW. It just highlights the fact that we all in this together, all branches of the U.S. military as well as our Canadian friends and neighbors.
Kenny Komodo February 25, 2010

Reward For A Job Well Done
Thank you Danny 
Thank you Michael 

O Canada! 
Our home and native land! 
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
Mike Gallagher February 25, 2010

I'am so thankfull to Michael and others who continue to keep us updated.I'm thankfull to GOD for bringing Danny to safety and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.May GOD TOUCH AND HEAL and PROTECT ALWAYS. Thank you for your service and for being an honorable man and a great neighbor to the US.
Jean February 25, 2010

jim February 25, 2010

We keep doing it
Americans take care of the people who support and fight with us. It has been that way in every war, action, and engagement. 
We even take care of our adversaries and rebuild their countries. 
Wonder why we are so unappreciated? 
Great job Michael and all of our troops, American & Canadian.
Burke February 25, 2010

Many thanks to those who brought Dan home
Having known Dan for many years, and appreciating all he has done for the people of Afganistan, I would like to thank the American and Canadian military for bringing him home. It is comforting to know that our two nations go the extra mile to ensure our injured heroes recieve the best care possible under difficult conditions.
Stuart February 25, 2010

msg. usa. ret. (cavalry)
Mikey me lad; You have done it again! And again: ERNIE PLYE is looking down with pride! 
And to canada: thanks again for your help. allons! Gunner 
GUNNER WAGNER February 25, 2010

THANK YOU AMERICA for saving our Danny
Knowing Danny and his family quite well, news of his very serious injuries hit us hard. I served in the Canadian Forces Reserve for many years with the same Regiment that Danny belongs to. The close co-operation and comradeship between the Canadian and American Forces runs very deep on so many levels, more than most people realize. Knowing that he was in the best possible care at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany gave us the hope that he would come home safe, as he did this past weekend. 

THANK YOU AMERICA for saving our Danny.
Peter F., Surrey, BC Canada February 25, 2010

Thanks again...

Thank you again for bringing us to the front and relaying the information and the war as you see it. It is such wonderful news to hear this young soldier is going to pull through. As for all of the personnel responsible for extending this mans life from the pilots flying the medevacs to the incredibly talented medics, nurses and doctors who obviously worked tirelessly to ensure he would see his family again, BRAVO. It never ceases to amaze me this is often "a day in the life" of our American and Allied troopers. Thank you all for your amazing work and unending efforts. God Speed to Danny and his family and His peace and love to those families who have lost a family member to this war.
RWHannaway February 26, 2010

How touching and sad, but beautiful
My heart and prayers go out to Danny and his family! 

Thanks for sharing this story....There is a reason why we share the longest friendly border in the world with our northern friends! 

Annie Smith February 26, 2010

Get well soon Danny!
Again Mike Yon brings the true face of the Afghan war into our lives with stunning effect. His blog should be broadcast on National / Worldwide TV for sure. Danny and family, we are thinking of you, deepest thanks for your and your fellow Soldiers sacrifice. Have a speedy recovery brother in arms. Much respect. A Brit.
Chris R February 26, 2010

No surprises here
Having served in a joint US/Canada military effort (NORAD) in my early days I became very aware of the strength of the relationship that exists between our two strong nations and our men at arms. In spite of efforts of the liberal left to marginalize this unique relationship, this incident - where a young Canadian soldier is injured and receives support and treatment from the Americans as if he were one of their own - is a clear indication that this special relationship endures.
Jerry P February 26, 2010

NYPD, retired
As usual, the PEOPLE get it, no matter what stupid politicians do or say to try and divide us. Those who lay it on the line day in and day out know who they can count on, and it's damned sure not a President or Prime Minister. The people of the US thank our northern neighbors/cousins, as well as our UK cousins and other coalition members for their support. We weep at your losses as we do at ours.
Bruce February 26, 2010

Another touching moment brought to the people by Michael
Godspeed Danny boy !!! Lucy; Judging by the photo, I think your an Angel ! Thank You ! 

Rick Clarke February 26, 2010

Thank God for his recovery! 
And, God Bless the Canadians, the Brits, the Poles, the Danes and the Aussies!!! 
Ted Bryson February 27, 2010

Thanks for your service
God bless all our Canadian and American troops, brothers and sisters in arms. Come home safely. Thank you for fighting for Freedom.
Shirley February 27, 2010
I think that letter was just one more thank you to you Michael for your reporting style. Not many reporters can report like you from the human side. When I read your reports, it's almost like I know everyone in the article by the end. Thank you for keeping it real and thanks to everyone that wears the uniform fighting for freedom.
Rocky February 27, 2010

The Real Heroes
With the media and the world focusing on the 2010 Olympics we have become confused as to who are the real heroes. Men and women who risk their lives fighting for peace and freedom are the ones who belong on the podium. Words cannot express the gratitude and respect I have for the courageous undertaking our Canadian and Allied Forces perform around the world; you are the true heroes. To all the men and women serving in Afghanistan, and to all those who helped bring Danny home safely, thank you! A gold medal could never show enough appreciation for what you all have done!
Pat, Surrey, B.C. February 27, 2010

This photo says it all
God speed to Danny. Thank you Lucy. God bless all our troops fighting for freedom.
Chris Madden February 28, 2010

As always, this dispatch has been reprinted with permission from the author, Michael Yon.

Please support this mission by making a direct contribution. Without your support, the mission will end. Thank you for helping me tell the full story of the struggle for Iraq and Afghanistan.

To read more on Michael Yon, or more information regarding the military, please go to the Michael Yon Dispatches Gather Group

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