"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

"We Fight And Sometimes Die So That Our Families Don't Have To" Marcus Golcyznski

This amazing picture has drawn a lot of comments from readers of the Nashville paper, The Tennessean. One of the hundreds of letters received is from a man who attended the funeral where this young boy received the flag in honor of his father.

Dear Tennessean:

The Tennessean's April 5 photograph of young Christian Golczynski accepting the American flag from Marine Lt. Col. Ric Thompson is one of the most moving and emotion provoking images I have ever seen.

My wife and I attended funeral services for Christian's father, Staff Sergeant Marcus Golczynski, on April 4, along with our six year-old son, dozens of Marines, and several hundred others who came to pay tribute to this fallen hero.

As one would expect, many of your readers were touched by this incredible picture. Staff Sergeant Golczynski had previously served one full tour in Iraq. Shortly before his death on March 27 he wrote to his family that he had volunteered to do this a second time due to our deep desire to finish the job we started. In his letter he said, "We fight and sometimes die so that our families don't have to." Tragically, Staff Sergeant Golczynski had only two weeks remaining on his second tour. We look at the photograph of Christian every day. It is displayed prominently in our home. Our hearts ache for Christian and for all those who have lost loved ones in this controversial conflict.

Our nation is at a historical crossroads. Do we call an end to the struggle in Iraq or press on? Staff Sergeant Golczynski eloquently told his son how he felt about not giving up. Perhaps there is a lesson for all of us in this man's life and the choices he made. He was undeniably a man of tremendous courage and conviction. America must now choose whether to complete the job.

When looking at the face of Christian Golczynski I am reminded that doing what is right is not always easy and doing what is easy is not always right. Christian's dad knew that too.

James Drescher

I pray my own children never take for granted their freedoms, or the freedoms of other people in democratic societies, obtained by the sacrifice of men and women like Staff Sergeant Marcus Golczynski. Our prayers are with the Golcyzynski family, particularly young Christian Golczynski.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


CB Scott said...


A freedom like ours is always very costly. Thank you for pointing it out. May the Hand of God be upon this young child and so many like him.


Chuck Bryce said...

My brother is currently serving in the Middle East. Before he left for this tour of duty he said, "The problem today is we are a military at war and not a country at war".

Young Christian is experiencing a deep hurt that will be there to some extent for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, most of us, including me, get to go about our lives every day thinking that this is just another day.

I pray for our nation to rally around these heroes and their loved ones.

LivingDust said...

Its a shame that the Iraqi debacle of President Bush and the Neocons has claimed the precious life of Staff Sgt. Golczynski, over 3500 other Americans and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians to date.

Some contend that these American men and women have died to "preserve our freedom". That statement is more offensive to me than President Bush's lie about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Our dear and precious men and women fight and die in Iraq because President Bush succumbed to the influence of a small group of dangerous men in high government office called the Neocons, agents of a foreign state.

Young boys like Christian Golczynski now face life without a father because of the weakness of President Bush and his errant decisions.

American freedom was never threatened by the likes of Sadaam Hussein and the Iraqi people. Southern Baptists should have long ago called for the withdrawl of all American troops from Iraq.

Jim Paslay said...


After reading your post, my first thought was, "I wonder how long it will take for someone to blame our President for this soldier's death." Well, two good post and bingo!

The venom that comes out of Living Dust's post is so typical today. Let's jump on the bandwagon and say something negative of our President. Instead of the hateful rhetoric, I wonder how many times Living Dust has lifted up our President in prayer? Based on his post, I would say not often. You can't spew that kind of venom after being on your knees lifting our Commander-in-Chief in prayer.

Our enemies thrive on the thoughts and sentiments as put forth by Living Dust. They see it as a sign of weakness in our country. They are right! For once it would be nice for people to say they are praying for our military leaders and hoping for a quick end to the war, and that are troops could come home as soon as possible! Anything else further hurts those who have paid the ultimate price for freedom!

LivingDust said...


I come from a military family and have a narrow view of the use of military power. I'm don't advocate the use of the US military for "pacifying the populous" or "making peace". It should be reserved for the complete destruction of an enemy only after a Declaration of War by the US Congress. If you are going to use the might of the US military, make sure you use it for righteous and honorable reasons and make sure you have the fortitude to make the land of the enemy a smoldering wreakage.

Jim, I refuse to put a POTUS on a pedestal like you. GWB wanted the job and he got it. He is a man who was elected by the people and his sworn duty is to uphold the US Constitution of our Constitutional Republic. President Bush put our troops in harm's way based on information he knew to be false, pedaled by the Neocons loyal to a foreign power. I don't call that very honorable and befitting the office of the POTUS.

I voted for GWB twice but will never support his decisions regarding Iraq.

Our troops suffer under pathetic rules of engagement in a faraway land with a populous who despise America. Yes, our troops on the ground pay the ultimate price, not for my freedom nor yours, but to satisfy the ill-conceived plan of the POTUS and his Neocon friends.

Jim, when you wrap yourself in the US flag don't cover your eyes or else you'll be blind.

Jack Maddox said...

Comments like those of Living Dust are precisely the reason I have backed way off the blogging thing. To use this kind of a post to grind a political ax is in my opinion uncalled for and tactless.

I believe I will jump back into my self imposed blogging exile now.


Jack Maddox said...

By the way...excellent post Wade! Thank you for bringing this to our attention. This young man will be in my prayers and prayers of our church.

irreverend fox said...

amen...we stand on the shoulders of heros.

irreverend fox said...

living dust...your comment is the shame. even if your assesment is right...you're wrong.

it's out of context...you should be ashamed.

Maston E. Jackson said...

Whether or not you agree with GWB's reasons for going to war, remember this; Christianity is on the rise in Iraq. I can promise you that the government of Saddam Hussein would have obliterated any followers of Christ, their associates, their families, and just about anyone who had ever spoken with them in the street.
Both of my sons have enlisted in the U.S. Army, with the full knowledge that they were going to war. My youngest son will be in the thick of things in a matter of weeks. I pray that I never have to be handed one of those neatly folded flags. However, it was made clear to me by both of my sons that these sacrifices they feel compelled of God to make.
Whether by bullet, bomb, or old age, the survival rate of any given generation is zero. It is how you live that leaves an indelible mark for those who follow in our footsteps. May the Brethren who are daily worshiping the Lord our God in Iraq persuade many to live lives of the indelible kind.
May God give protection and strength to my soldiers and grace beyond measure to their mother and I.

Pamela said...

It is hard to make judgments about the war when you are not getting the entire story in our press. There is a young man that attends the church I do that has been in Iraq. I'm just getting to know him but I believe his wife is also in the military. When he is with us he is in a safe place to share problems. I will believe what he says over any media person.

I have him in mind also when people pop off about this. He feels that it is worth the effort to be over there. He will be going back in a few weeks. He knows full well that he could die over there but he KNOWS that the effort is worth it.

There is a man Georges Sada. He was a general in Saddam's army. I saw him here in Tulsa. He told every detail about the plans for the WMD, when they were created and when they were moved to Syria. He and the minister that presented the program have been debriefed by our government. He confirmed the intellegence that Colin Powell presented at the UN before we attacked Iraq.

I feel for this young fellow. He will probably face the hostility that many in our nation has for our military. I was very little when our veterans came back from Vietnam. I sadly see a repeat here.

Please just pray for these men and women AND our governmental leaders. There is a lot of information that the leaders have that we will never know. There is also immense pressure on them that we will never experience. We are living in very difficult days and facing issues we have never faced before. They have dreadful decisions to make. They need the wisdom of God. Yes give our input when needed but PLEASE cry out to God.

Anonymous said...

Having been all over Nashville and Middle Tennessee, I can report that the populace there holds to a strong heritage of military service, even in the least populous towns. From Ft. Campbell with its hundreds of helicopters to the dozens of less-populous bases and NG units, the populace of TN understands the costs of liberty. The home of so many settlers of Texas in the early 1800's even named the state's biggest football stadium for General (& Coach) Neyland!

Looking forward to the end of this Iraq action like the rest of the country,

as well as the end of the fundamentalist Islamic war against moderate Nuslims and the rest of humanity,

Steve Austin
Hoptown, Ky.

Anonymous said...

Tell me where in the Bible it says we can heap shame upon another irreverand fox?

Anonymous said...

Jingoism -- chauvinistic patriotism, usually associated with a War Hawk political stance. In practice, it refers to sections of the general public who advocate the use of threats or of actual force against other countries in order to safeguard a country's national interests. – Wikipedia

Wade, I see you are comfortable with using an inflammatory picture of an innocent child to raise the issues of the Iraq war. That Staff Sergeant Marcus Golczynski was a brave patriot, deserving of our respect, there is no doubt. Only history will truly tell whether his sacrifice has helped to secure our freedom or increase the freedom of the peoples of Iraq.

Next time you broach this subject, perhaps you could include a picture of an Iraqi orphan and, also, a prayer for the thousands of Iraqi children who have felt (so to speak) “the tip of our American spear.”


Bill Scott said...

It always amazes me how those who "come from military backgrounds" are some of the first to voice their "political opinions."

My father, my father's father and his father served this country in armed conflict. My mother's father, his father and his father's father served this country in armed conflict.

I have served this nation for the past 20 years IN UNIFORM and in armed conflict. SSgt Golcyznski did not die in vain. He died so that those around him might live in peace. Peace comes at a price. There are darned few people willing to stand up for anything. There are darned fewer that are willing to die for what they believe.

Living Dust is there anything that you are willing to die for? Have you ever looked death in the face and wondered if this moment was your last on the field of battle? I think I already know the answer. Those who have served with honor would never disgrace their fallen brothers as you have.

I am glad that my family over the years has bled and (some died) so that you can have your opinions. We earned. You enjoy it.

SFC Scott

jack said...

I believe that the country IS united in supporting our men and women in uniform AND divided over the necessity of the war they have been ordered to fight.

I also believe that the country learned how to do this from the bitter experience of Vietnam. How those in uniform were treated during the conflict and afterward will forever be our shame.

Finally, I hope Mr. Jackson is right about the future of Christianity in Iraq.

Sadly, the Christian Community in Iraq was forced to flee the country once al Qaeda succeeded in fomenting the Sunni vs Shia sectarian violence. At the moment many Iraqi Christians are in exile because is is too dangerous to return.

Praying for Peace,


LivingDust said...

Hey Bill,

Get this straight - None of my words disgrace the memory of Staff Sgt. Golcyznski and what he did for his country.

My beef is with President Bush, the Neocons and their decision to put American troops in harm's way to kill a two-bit dictator and occupy the land of an America-hating populous in a hell hole called Iraq.

Yes, there are causes for which I am willing to die but Sadaam Hussein, Iraq and oil aren't on the list.

Bill Scott said...

Like I said, we paid for it. You are entitled to speak out of both sides of your mouth. Claiming to "support the troops" and bad mouth the Commander in Chief is something that I guess that some civilians will never understand.

How do you protest the war and honor the combatants. You can't. Get that straight.

Was Gettysburg not a hell hole. How about San Juan Hill? What about the Vimey Ridge? Normandy Beach? Iwo Jima? The Frozen Chosin? Ia Drang Valley? Beirut? Kuwait City?

Someday when you are farting dust, our war dead will be remembered and honored. Their legacy will endure because they fought to insure that it will endure. Your peace button legacy will fade long before theirs.

Thousands of soldiers have fought and died for you to contradict yourself freely. We earned it. You are free to continue to enjoy it.

Geoff Baggett said...

Well said. VERY well said.

Anonymous said...

Billy asks then answers his own question: How do you protest the war and honor the combatants. (Sic) You can't. Get that straight.

I would never dispute Billy's description of his personal capabilities.

On the other hand, there are many of us with IQ's, educations, mental competencies, and experience on active duty service during wartime, which qualify us to protest the war and still honor the brave men and women who have served in our armed forces.

Sadly, Billy isn’t capable. Happily, Livingdust and I, and millions of other Americans, are.

Get that straight Billy.



blampp said...

How can it be so confidently KNOWn that Wade selected that picture for inflammatory purposes? I would think we might want to exhort him to also include a picture of some of those children that were neglected and abused by their "so-called" protector's before rescue by the American Military. What about prayer for those who are on either side simply because of where they live? I find it interesting that we can quickly and simplisticly position ourselves and call some liars and deceivers and then admit that we voted for them originally!
I've seen much "death" here in the US. Our privileges are fragile and could easily face the same terrorist tactics that so disdain and frustrate and even frighten us!
Our "Fathers" reminded us that we have a Republic, as long as we can keep it! I realize it's out of context but what the Lord said to Solomon, and I would hope we too could also claim it..... 2 Chronicles 7:13-15..... I don't know about you folks..... but, I need revival...I am at war 2 Corinthians 10:3-5! bml

Jim Paslay said...

I agree with Bill Scott's eloquent comments about trying to support the troops but protesting the war. I have asked some our soldiers who have served in Iraq about that very subject. Many are confused when they see the demonstrations and the hateful rhetoric that is spewed by the anti-war crowd. It does nothing but weaken our country. We need to support our troops in every way we can, and we must pray for our Commmander-in-Chief who makes very important decisions concerning the war. I doubt many who speak ill of our President ever lift him up in prayer. They are incompatible of each other.

Ask some of our Vietnam Vets about the protests that went on during the war. Some of the POWs were confronted by their captors with the ill-advised actions of Jane Fonda and her anti-war buddies. Until our soldiers come home, we need to keep our rhetoric and protests to ourselves. I am convinced there are some Americans who would like us to lose in Iraq. That is sad to say but true!

Stephen Pruett said...

I can understand why there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue. However, I would like to remind living dust that all the intelligence services in the West believed Iraq had WMD. There was an intensive, independent investigation in the UK to determine if the results were purposely slanted to support an invasion. They found no evidence for this.

Although you may be convinced that Saddam posed no threat to the U.S., you do not have the weight of responsibility that is uniquely the President's. For example, wouldn't you be concerned about the possibility that Saddam, even though he did not like Al Queda, would give them WMD because he so much wanted someone to attack the US. Personally, I would not want to have taken a chance that this would not happen by simply letting Saddam continue in power.

Secondly, you mention oil as a reason for this attack. It is my understanding that oil revenues are all going to Iraq. The only manner in which the US will benefit from Iraqi oil may be that some US companies will be awarded contracts to rebuild and improve the oil infrastructure in Iraq. However, it is my understanding that companies from all over the world can compete for these contracts. If US companies are selected because they are best or have the lowest bid, good for them. If you have evidence that anything other than this is going on, I would love to hear about it.

I am sorry to detract from the purpose of this post, to honor a true hero and his family who must face life without him. I certainly intend to pray for them, and I am very grateful for Sgt. Golcynski's willingness to serve. However, I feel it is important to challenge folks who assume their "facts" are accurate.

Bill Scott said...

Thank you for your resume and your credentials. I have found that those who extol their IQ's are often lacking in both IQ and common sense.

You (if you did indeed serve) obviously didn't learn a thing about duty, honor or country.

It is impossible to HONOR our service men and women and then disgrace them for doing their DUTY for their COUNTRY by protesting the war! Perhaps your "war time service" was in the Salvation Army.

You and Dusty are free to drive to DC in your VW vanagon, put flowers in your hair and dance around the mall beating your peace tamborines. Just don't ever expect a veteran to pat you on the back for your contradictory efforts.

Put that in your peace pipe and smoke it.

SFC Scott

docjoc said...


As a Vietnam Veteran who saw many terrible wounds and many die, your post brings back many memories…First of seeing so many young suffer and die and then the guilt not dying myself. Sometimes tears well up thinking of those young men.

Then the anger I still have toward those who couched their cowardliness in a cloak of high sounding moralistic antiwar talk and protests.

Everyone is against war…especially those being shot at. The difference is that soldiers overcome their fear and do their duty even unto death.

One problem with war is that is kills our bravest and best and leaves the rest to govern the country. We now have a whole generation who love nothing better than to second guess Presidents and enjoy that warm superior feeling of being “against the war”.

Dusty if you are really “against the war” why don’t you go to Iraq and help out those poor people who need your help…or is it too dangerous for an armchair critic.

LivingDust said...


You and Bill have mis-interpreted my stance on the use of military power. I don't believe in using the US military to "help the poor people", "pacifying the populous" or "making peace". You end up with another April 30, 1975 when you mis-apply military power.

Bennett Willis said...

I was really glad to get to the bottom of this line of comments. I hope that mine is the last comment.

Bennett Willis

C.J. Adkins said...

Thank you for sharing this powerful letter. It seems that public opinion is easily effected by negative media reports and opposition politicians constantly questioning the value of this conflict. The cause is just!
May we never forget the sacrifices that others have made and are making that we might live.
This young man's father is indeed a hero. May God bless them all!
C.J. Adkins