The first in a 5 part series. This is just a short excerpt – read the whole first part at the link below.
No matter what you think about us being in Iraq – if this man’s actions don’t make you proud of of fine men and women serving in uniform you should just move someplace else.
The phone rang. An Army official started explaining to Deierlein that he didn?t have to report for duty after all. He may have remained in the Individual Ready Reserve, but his obligation to the Army ended years ago. He could resign his commission and stay home.
Deierlein?s reply: ?I?m still going to go.?
Whirlwind courtship, and a quick goodbye
I have the full support of Hiwot, my fiancée, and something told me not to fight this but rather to embrace it and go ahead and serve my country with honor, dignity and pride.
? Excerpt from an e-mail message Tom Deierlein sent out to his staff on Oct. 14, 2005
Deierlein met his future wife over Fourth of July weekend in 2001. She worked as a flight attendant for United Airlines and also clerked at the front desk of a boutique hotel in Boston.
He stayed at that hotel during a trip to Boston for the wedding of two close friends. On his third day in town, he ambled into the hotel lobby and saw Hiwot behind the counter.
She was beautiful. Stunning, in fact. He did a double take. He couldn?t stop staring. She looked up at him.
He decided to walk over and apologize. She smiled.
?Don?t worry, it happens all the time,? she said.
Tom started picking through the candy dish on the counter and attempting to make small talk.
?Don?t take any of the pink candies,? Hiwot chided.
?Pink?? Tom replied. ?Who would want pink? Who would want peppermint??
?It?s not peppermint! It?s watermelon.?
?Well, that?s even worse! It would be like a Jolly Rancher. Anyway, I?m looking for butterscotch.?
He spotted her first name on her name tag and asked her how to pronounce it (HEE-watt), where it originated (Ethiopia, where her family is from; Hiwot means ?life? in Amharic), and whether she grew up in Ethiopia (nope; born and raised in the States). Tom struggled to keep the conversation going beyond that, but as he put it, ?I had no rap.?
Tom didn?t see Hiwot again for the rest of the visit, but he couldn?t stop thinking about her. He decided to leave her a note before heading back to New York. The clerk working that day warned him that plenty of guys flirt with Hiwot and she probably wouldn?t remember him.
He taped a pink candy to his note.