I am posting this article in it's entirety so hopefully you will read it all even tho it's pretty long. My friend knows the mother of this Vet which is how I came to have it.
Iraq vet to GOP: We’re doing good work
By Matt Smith/Staff Writer
17 July 2007
— Jayson Winn graduated from high school and was enrolled in college classes the day he drove to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to see his younger twin brothers, Matt and Toby Winn — both U.S. Marines — off to San Diego. The three boys and their mother arrived at the airport shortly before 9 a.m., Sept. 11, 2001.
“That day I decided college would have to wait,” Winn, of Centerville , told members of the Johnson County Republican Party on Saturday at the Cleburne Civic Center . “I couldn’t let my little brothers do it alone.”
Winn served as guest speaker at the local Republican’s annual July Jubilee, which followed a theme of supporting troops and veterans past and present.
“Going in, I told myself that no matter what they ask of me, I’ve got to do it for the betterment of my country,” Winn said.
Winn joined the infantry-artillery division of the U.S. Army and said with a chuckle that he was slightly dismayed to discover his initial duties involved six weeks of picking up cigarette butts at Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla., and, once overseas, latrine duty.
Audience members laughed when Winn said he wrote the Declaration of Independence on an outhouse wall one day.“
Another soldier thanked me and said it was the first time he’d actually read it,” Winn said. “I’m just glad I was able to make it possible for him to read it in such a dignified place.”
Such frivolities aside, Winn said he and his fellow troops performed important work in Iraq .
“We also secured a half a million tons of unsecured guns, rifles and land mines,” Winn said. “On the other hand, we did a whistle-stop tour of towns, delivering school desks and supplies and building soccer fields. Through it all, I saw people not ignorant and not unfriendly to Americans, though some were, who were very similar to people right here in Johnson County , people who just want to live their lives.”
Crossing from Kuwait — where, Winn noted, they have a Taco Bell — into Iraq , Winn said his first sight was not of burned-out tanks or charred buildings.“
It was families, right on the border,” Winn said. “The ones who suffered the most under Saddam’s regime, that they didn’t want or understand. We were told not to give away our water or MREs [meals ready to eat, or rations] to these starving people, but, of course, we did.”
Seeing villages in Iraq reminded Winn of Bible stories in Sunday school, he said. He imagined many of these places probably still look much as they did 2,000 years ago.“People say we should and shouldn’t be there, and that’s their prerogative,” Winn said. “But my experience was that I met people who convinced me we did the right thing. I think of myself as a liberator.
People say we should do something in Darfur [in Sudan ] or should have done something in Rwanda . There are just as many people in Iraq who were poured into the ground like sour milk.”
Winn spoke of a man whose hands Iraqi soldiers cut as a warning and another man who earned a degree in engineering at Baghdad University but now subsists by running a used-tire store.“
They tossed him aside after he served 10 years in the Iran-Iraq war because he was injured,” Winn said. “Then they accused him of inciting violence and jailed him for seven years. Every day they put a noose around his neck. Now he’s just thrilled to have the freedom to be able to read three different newspapers a day.”
The biggest surprise, Winn said, was that he enjoyed his time in the military and made many friends. He went in expecting to hunker down and do his part to get the job done. His experience made him realize how special and important the bond he shares with veterans of all wars is.
Winn spoke of meeting former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., shortly after the 1996 presidential election and lamenting how no one from Dole’s World War II generation, often called the Greatest Generation, would ever again serve as president. Dole was the Republican nominee during the race. Although he said it was unlikely another World War II vet would become president, he didn’t believe Winn’s assertion about a member of the Greatest Generation to be true.“
He told me that in America it’s always the next generation that is the greatest,” Winn said. “Every generation has a group that will stand tall and answer the call.”
Once his military service concluded, Winn said he knew he had to continue serving America . He founded Single SAMS, which stands for soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors. The group provides a voice for troops who do not have a spouse or children back home.
In addition to saluting the troops, attendees enjoyed a chicken-fried- steak dinner and could bid on auction items including Fort Worth Cats baseball memorabilia and a leather chair embossed with the state seal, which State Rep. Rob Orr, R-Burleson, provided.“
Jayson’s speech was very inspirational,” said Dan Hunt, Johnson County Republican Party chairman. “I only wish more people could hear the things he has to say instead of just what we do hear about Iraq all the time. It’s important for us to be reminded that we take for granted many of the freedoms so many people around the world wish they could have.”
Matt Smith can be reached at 817-645-2441, ext. 2339, or msmith@trcle. com.
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