The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name' sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.
The valley of the shadow of death is Pech.
The Western Pech River Valley was cleared in October.† The Eastern Pech River Valley was the focus of a full battalion of the 101st Airborne Division.† They began their work two weeks before Thanksgiving and finished one week before Thanksgiving.
On Thanksgiving Day I will rise at 0300 and drive my wife, daughter and grandson to Canton, Ohio for a grand feast with my many cousins.† On the day before Thanksgiving Day I will ride my motorcycle, flying my 5 by 8 American flag, to the funeral of a soldier from that battalion.
The firefight took place 11 days before Thanksgiving and lasted 6 hours.† Scottís platoon was patrolling when they came under mortar attack which the enemy followed with small arms engagement.† Scottís platoon was able to positively identify the enemy firing positions Ė a requirement of counter-insurgency to avoid civilian casualties Ė and responded with mortars and guided missiles.
Scott Thomas Nagorski was one of the five United States Army soldiers from Company A, 1/327 who were killed.† In addition, there were so many wounded from his platoon that the remaining eight able soldiers were divided between the other platoons of Company A.† Scottís platoon ceased to exist.† About three dozen Taliban also died in the Watapur Valley of the eastern Pech.
Finally, after six hours of struggle, two fixed-wing aircraft dropped one precision-guided bomb each and resolved the issue.
The day before Thanksgiving, temperatures in Milwaukee will be in the thirties.† Rain is expected.† I expect to be cold, wet and miserable the day before Thanksgiving.† And I expect to be tired on Thanksgiving Day.† But what does that matter?
(The First Sergeant of Company A is Curt Balance of Kinmundy, Illinois which is east of St. Louis and south of Decatur.)
Robin, meeting me in the driveway:† I was worried.
Me:† I was going to check my cell phone for messages as soon as I got home.
Robin turns and walks away.
M:† I havenít eaten all day.
Robin:† Thatís your fault.
Home.† I am as cold as I thought I would be, but not quite as wet and not nearly as miserable.† In any case, discomfort is transient.† What we did today is eternal.
Iíll do more when I can.† For now, just a few:
In my lifetime, I think I have said the Pledge only in grade school and with the Patriot Guard Riders.
A couple thousand times in grade school, then nothing for 40 years.
Then a couple hundred times with the PGR.
Governor Jim Doyle, lame duck.
Nobody can say he came just†† to gather votes.
Chuck offered to store my bike and drive me home if the weather turned bad.
The detail at 1100.
This was one of the rare occasions when Old Glory does not fly at the top of her pole.
Brian Layer has been Deputy Commanding General at the Rock Island Arsenal for two months,
but he took some time for Scott.
The detail at 1500.
It hadnít snowed since last winter.
It didnít snow during the wake.† It didnít snow during the funeral.† It didnít snow during the procession to the cemetery.
And then it did.
Scott Nagorski was a great soldier who died heroically.† He deserves better than I have done with this page so far.† I guess I am distracted by my Thanksgiving trip and the chance to see my cousins.† It will be feasting and football.† It will be fun.
Scott has had his last Thanksgiving.
The people who love him will never have another Thanksgiving with him.
That is the price of my Thanksgiving.† The price was Scott and others like him.
I promise to remind my cousins.
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