God and Country

John Kennedy urged us to ask not what our country could do for us, but for what we could do for our country.  Some men and women don’t stop at the asking.  They go, and they sacrifice, and they come back with little to show for their sacrifice.

One such man is LTC Tim Karcher.

Two days before American troops were to pull out of all Iraqi cities, LTC Tim Karcher was patrolling the Baghdad streets

MRAP.jpg

with his men of 2-5 Cavalry. Karcher was riding ‘shotgun’ in our military’s safest infantry vehicle, a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP), when they were attacked.

An Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP) pierced the armor, took both of Colonel Karcher’s legs off, above the knees and killed his driver. Karcher’s men rushed to his aid. They strapped his thighs with tourniquets and raced him to the closest medical facility. He was initially treated and then flown to Balad where surgeons labored to keep him alive. Once stabilized, he was flown to Landstuhl, Germany were he remained until his arrival at Walter Reed Army Medical Center last weekend.  That’s him in an earlier photo with his wife and daughters.

Karcher_Family.jpg

Thanks to Richard S Lowry for the following.

Colonel Karcher is one of thousands of unsung American heroes. It is men like him that have made it possible for us to celebrate this American Independence Day. Tim Karcher is one of the best of the best. He is a “Jedi Knight,” a graduate of the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS). Last year, during an interview, I asked him about being an alumnus of such a prestigious school. He said, “I guess we can wield a laser pointer better than most.” As most great Americans, he is a humble man. But, don’t let his modesty fool you. He is a warrior. He has fought in the fiercest battles of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As the 2-7 Battalion Operations Officer S3, he and Colonel Jim Rainey fought alongside US Marines in the battles of Najaf and Fallujah. On his next deployment, he was shot in the shoulder in one of the most dangerous cities in Iraq – Baqubah.

ABC’s Martha Raddatz filed this:

I have been in regular touch with Alesia since LTC Karcher was hurt and find her strength remarkable. It was profoundly tested at Walter Reed. As soon as Tim arrived he had to have his wounds cleaned again, so Alesia waited patiently in the ward where so many of America’s military still heal. Alesia had invited me to the hospital, and I arrived about thirty minutes after she had had her reunion with her usband. I did not visit LTC Karcher, I would not have wanted to intrude on that first day. But I know he was surrounded by love from Alesia and fellow soldiers, one of whom had been in the hospital when TC Karcher recovered from a gunshot wound to the shoulder on a previous deployment to Iraq.

Another old Army friend of his, Colonel Franklin Childress had accompanied him from Landstuhl Medical Center in Germany where he had not left LTC Karcher’s side. Everyone who visited LTC Karcher aid he was strong and trying to remain upbeat. But it was clearly emotional and trying for all who were with him. Alesia was gracious and said again how much the support and love she has received from people she doesn’t even know has helped the family. She has no doubt her family will make it through. She has no doubt her husband will be up and around as soon as he can. She also clearly knows after seeing her husband yesterday that it will be a long hard road.
But here is what I loved about yesterday in the sadness of that hospital. Alesia Karcher looked stunningly beautiful. She wore a bright, fitted red-orange sleeveless dress, her hair and makeup giving no sign of the trauma she has been through. She greeted her wounded husband as if it was a first date. She had after all, not seen him since he deployed four months ago. And this was the third time he had returned from deployment. She is used to welcoming him home, making it special. This time was going to be no different. I loved that.

Guys like Col. Karcher don’t ask for fame or fortune.  That’s just not what motivates them.  They just love their counrty and what it stands for.

Life.

Liberty.

And though we all want to pursue happiness, guys like this know that there simply is none to be had by anyone until someone takes a stand for honor, integrity and virtue.  They know that without those things, happiness is no more tangible than morning mist.

At times like this, it’s good to be able to pray – to pray for healing and strength and stamina for Tim and his wife and daughters – but also for the great gift of life and liberty that we have as a gift from God our Father, and for men like Tim Karcher who lay down their lives to keep it that way.

I don’t know all that much about Col. Karcher, but I suspect his desire to serve did not come from an atheistic worldview.  God bless you, sir.  It’s guys like you that make me proud to be an American.

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4 thoughts on “God and Country

  1. Havok

    While I admire people who put their lives on the line, this:

    John: I don’t know all that much about Col. Karcher, but I suspect his desire to serve did not come from an atheistic worldview.

    Is simply ignorant.

    No atheists in foxholes, eh John? You’re insulting the people who serve their country with no thought of life after death or some eternal reward, who accept that when dead they will cease to exist, and yet choose to risk their lives regardless.

    Congratulations!

    1. I’m sorry you’re offended. My intent was to honor a guy who lived his life in a way that I felt deserved honor. He lived it as if it did not belong exclusively to him.

      Some atheists will protest that they are as giving and altruistic as anybody else, but my observation has been otherwise. You’re no doubt the exception :D, but most of the atheists I encounter seem to be missing the genes that promote generosity, charity, altruism and other sociologically beneficial behaviors.

      And sorry, it is not ignorant to suggest Col Karcher is not an atheist. I can’t speak for him because I don’t know him, but I know some people who know some people… Bottom line – I believe him and his wife to both have become Christians some time ago.

      1. Havok

        John: I’m sorry you’re offended.

        I’m offended at your implication that only a Christian would act selflessly. It seemed ignorant of you to indicate that guys like Karcher must be Christian, or that an atheist would/could not behave similarly.

        John: My intent was to honor a guy who lived his life in a way that I felt deserved honor. He lived it as if it did not belong exclusively to him.

        And if someone (and I’m sure there are many examples to choose from) behaved in the same manner as Karcher, but happened to lack belief in a deity (or perhaps believed in a different deity) would they also be deserving of honour?

        John: Some atheists will protest that they are as giving and altruistic as anybody else, but my observation has been otherwise.

        Anecdotal evidence isn’t worth too much you know.
        Statistics seem to indicate that less religious nations in Europe donate more to charity (including international aid) as a percentage of GDP than the US and other more religious nations.

        John: You’re no doubt the exception 😀

        Not in the least. I’m as selfish (and selfless) as most people, regardless of belief system (or lack thereof) 🙂

        John:, but most of the atheists I encounter seem to be missing the genes that promote generosity, charity, altruism and other sociologically beneficial behaviors.

        How about Bill Gates or Alan Greenspan who donated VAST sums of money (and I believe time)?
        Or Peter Singer, who donates 30% of his income to charity?
        I suspect that your experience of “atheists” is not indicative of non-believers in general (and neither are my examples).

        John: And sorry, it is not ignorant to suggest Col Karcher is not an atheist.

        It was your solid implication that only a Christian could do as Karcher had done which I called ignorant, not your implication that he was a Christian.

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