Kate Dudding: Voices From the Past: January, 2018
This is the thirty-third issue of Voices From the Past. My goal for each issue is to publish some highlights of one of my historical stories as well as an update on my activities. Please feel free to forward this e-newsletter to anyone you think might be interested.
Every U.S. Army soldier solemnly swears this Oath when they enlist. This is the story of one American soldier.
His family moved to the United States in 1990 when he was eight.
Eight years later when he was 16, in a large government room near Newburg, NY, with many others, his whole family raised their right hands and solemnly swore this oath:
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity
to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty,
of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;
that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law;
that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law;
that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law;
and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion;
so help me God."
Then they sang the Star Spangled Banner, pledged allegiance to the flag, and proudly became naturalized American citizens.
A few years later, when he graduated from high school, he thought of joining the Army. He told his family, “I have skills that few native born Americans have, skills I learned in our birth country that would be useful to the U.S. Army.” But instead he went to college, as his father wished.
On the telephone, his brother and sister asked, “Is it worth it, with everyone giving you so much mouth?”
He just said, “This is the only way I have to show that I love this country.”
While in Iraq, his unit came under heavy mortar fire and he had to sleep in his combat gear.
During his furlough, Mohsin told a local reporter, “It was scary at times. But I knew everyone in the community here was praying for me." Some of you have probably done that – prayed for local people overseas in war zones. Mohsin also said, "It's still a little weird having running water."
“Mohsin is always cracking jokes,” his family and friends said. “He is the kind of guy who could make a joke out of anything no matter how terrible the situation was. He is the life of the party.”
Mohsin returned to Iraq and served a total of nine months there. After graduating from college, he re-enlisted for active duty, solemnly swearing that enlistment oath again, and became a first lieutenant. “This is going to be my career,” he told his family. “The only way I'm getting out of the Army is if they kick me out, which isn't going to happen, or if I retire."
Three months later, on Sept. 17, 2008, while on patrol in Afghanistan, 1st Lt. Mohsin Naqvi was killed by a roadside bomb. Three other American soldiers were killed with him:
Sgt. Joshua W. Harris, 21, of Romeoville, Illinois;
Capt. Bruce E. Hays, 42, of Cheyenne, Wyoming; and
Staff Sgt. Jason A. Vazquez, 24, of Chicago, Illinois.
They were among the 155 U.S. soldiers who died in Afghanistan that year.
Brig. Gen. William N. Phillips presented Raazia with Mohsin’s Purple Heart, his Bronze Star, his Combat Infantry Badge and his dog tags. Brig. Gen. Phillips said, “Mohsin served his Army with great distinction. He was a real patriot.”
Mohsin’s father said, “We are patriotic Americans. We are proud to be Americans … but still, people don’t trust us. Why are we Muslims being blamed for something done by 19 people? Why? Why is that? We are patriotic Americans. My son did the best he could because he sacrificed his life. He’s down there in that grave under tons of dirt. What else can you expect from a patriotic American?”
The Story of One American Soldier – 1st Lt. Mohsin Naqvi
News about me
January is a busy month for me :-)
I am very honored to be one of performers at
The Third Annual Dr. King Challenge in Saratoga Springs, NY, on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. I will be telling the story about a 23 year old Muslim woman, born in Brooklyn, who gave hope in a time of fear, and who stood up for those who had suffered injustice. This story is on my latest CD
Learning About Muslims.
I was pleased to be part of 1st Night Saratoga, telling with my friends Siri Allison and Christie Keegan, calling ourselves Saratoga Storytellers. Our two sets were well received by some hearty folks who braved the way below frrrreeeeezing weather.
I also pleased to be telling the story Stalking Her Prey: Congresswomen Martha Griffiths, the Mother of the Equal Rights Amendment at a meeting of the League of Women Voters of Rensselaer County.
Here are three upcoming performances - I hope you'll be able to come with a few friends :-)
Thanks for reading this issue. I’ll be sending you some more story highlights in a few months.
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Copyright 2018 by Kathryn Eike Dudding. All Rights Reserved.