This is about Bruno Desolenni, who lived in Crescent City, Calif., but belonged to the Oregon National Guard, I Picked this post about him over at the National Review Blog:
Capt. Bruno de Solenni, R.I.P. [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A brother of a friend of mine (Pia) was killed by an IED in Afghanistan this weekend, along with two Afghan interpreters. A fellow soldier was injured. I was just reading a letter Bruno's hometown paper published before he died; what he has to say and who he was and what he sacrificed and the grief his family suffers are reminders of the tremendous burden so few of us carry for freedom:
The bad days are when you put your buddy in a body bag and you don't even recognize him because his limbs are missing and there holes in him everywhere. The miracles are when his last words are, "tell my wife and kids I love them," before he dies in his best friend's arms after struggling for several agonizing minutes to get the words out because there is a fist-size hole in his head.
And last but not least, the best days are when an Afghan comes up to you thanking you for everything that you have done to help them and for making their (home) a better place now that the Taliban are gone.
If anything, this is probably the biggest reason why I proudly enjoy being over here. I can't explain it to anyone and there is no description of what it feels like, but it was the same feeling I got when I was in Iraq as well. And I am sure it's the same feeling that generations of American soldiers before me have gotten as they fought and sacrificed their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy today.
Perhaps the biggest thing that has made being over here much more bearable, is the amount of public support that we have received from people. Getting a care package or a letter of support when you are out in the middle of nowhere from a complete stranger, thanking you, does make the day seem a little better.
I would especially like to thank my Aunt Jan Martin, and The local Troop Support organization who have provided care packages to soldiers serving overseas and have volunteered endless hours of their time and energy making our lives easier. The British soldiers (who don't get anything) are extremely grateful as well.
Along with this, I would especially like to thank the members of the VFW who donated several hundred dollars of G.I. shirts to the company of Afghans that I have been mentoring. You have all truly made my life and my job easier. Without your support, life would not be as pleasant.
Last but not least I would truly like to thank everyone who has supported the soldiers and the efforts toward supporting these wars even when there wasn't an end in sight. Until about 6 months ago there wasn't a news outlet that was saying that the Iraq war was winnable and that this was another vietnam in the making. Had we let the politicians get ahold of this war it would have been.
Fortunately our president (who is not perfect) has stood his ground against the naysayers who deliberately exploited the death of American soldiers for their own political gain, showing no regard to their families and loved ones who are still mourning them to this day.
I can understand what it was like for Vietnam veterans who returned from the war and were spat upon for wearing their uniform and standing up for what they believed in. Unfortunately this is still all-too-true for many of the British soldiers returning home to their own country. There are even certain ethnic religious neighborhoods where they cannot even wear their uniforms because they will be beat up in their own country.
I pray to God we never come to that and thank the fact that what has changed drastically between Vietnam and now is that even if the public doesn't support the war, they still support troops which makes a huge difference. This is especially comforting if you are one of those soldiers walking through the airport wearing your uniform and coming home on leave or returning from a deployment.
Once again, I cannot thank everyone enough for their support and all that they have done …
Capt. Bruno de Solenni
A friend of his who survived the blast writes: “What do you say about Bruno? He was everything in a person I wish I was. Smart, kind and steel core that made him the best Officer on our team. He loved the Afghans and in combat never was there a better Operator or Leader. The man was absolutely fearless.”
Rest in peace. Thank you.