“I am a 30-something young man – husband and father of a young son. I hear of all that is happening in
My response to Dougan was to say:
“What a great question. I wish more people felt the same way. Let’s begin by letting me introduce you to my friend, Capt. Dave Gowel. Dave is a
It took a few weeks for us to coordinate schedules, but eventually, Dave Gowel, Dougan Sherwood and I shared a long and loquacious meal at the Kendall Square Legal Seafood. The conversation was riveting as these two young loyal Americans quickly found common ground as we explored how someone like Dougan might devote some of his time and energy in reaching out to serve those who have served overseas. Dougan and Dave have both reflected on what we experienced that day, and have given me permission to share the thoughts that they articulated in letters to me.
Here are my thoughts from our lunch.
Since our first meeting, I've come to you on many occasions for advice, direction on everything. In every instance, you've not only diagnosed whatever cause is affecting me, but you have offered an approach to the solution that is truly unique - and spot on. I know your ultimate resource is the Good Book. But in the case of advising me on this topic, I think introducing me to Dave Gowel is about as close a second as can be.
I came to you b/c I recognize that the history of the past seven years is the War on Terror, which is being played out through wars in
Over the past couple of years, I have grown increasingly uncomfortable with how little the
I basically wanted to know what a 33 year old husband and father of a one year old can do to support the War on Terrorism from the perspective of someone who's served. Paying taxes isn't service, and there's no reason why I should be waiting for my government to call me to act. I wanted to know if what I was feeling made any sense to someone in the military and what suggestions they might have for me. Would Dave tell me to join the Army?
This meeting was the beginning of a dialogue that has potential to spread in any direction. Dave did not shy from affirming his view that the ultimate sacrifice is to enlist. But he also emphasized that there's I can do without necessarily joining the military. He encouraged me to consider my interests and strengths and together we'd discuss how to put them to serve the military community and the War on Terror.
I don't have many friends who tell me they lose sleep b/c they feel disconnected from this war. But how can they not be feeling how I feel to some degree? I believe that many other civilians do feel as I do, but like me, find it very hard to engage. One lunch with Dave and I now have a real personal connection to the war that confirms everything I've been feeling for the past several years.
Inspired, Grateful, Humbled.
I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to get to know your friend and now mine, Dougan Sherwood. In preparing for my departure from ten years of wearing the uniform, it was invigorating to speak with an American as sincere and patriotic as him. In the past decade, I have had many people (friends and perfect strangers alike) offer their thanks for my military service in the form of words, letters, and care packages while I was deployed to
His desire to support his military makes me proud to serve. It’s not everyday that someone who has spent his own time, energy and resources to cultivate leadership in
On one level, I’m proud that my brethren (and literally, my brother) currently serving in harm’s way tonight are doing their job so well that many Americans can list their greatest immediate concerns to be the high price of their gas and the low price of their homes. It’s our job to fight and win
Assistant Professor of Military Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
I think it is clear why I felt the need to share the thoughts – and dialogue – between these two remarkable young men. It is my hope and prayer that it may inspire you to engage in your own dialogue – to reach out to someone different than yourself and ask: “What can I do to make a difference?”
As always, I look forward to hearing your comments.