(photo credit: REUTERS)
My cousin, Cpl. David Gordon, an American lone soldier, is among the fallen veterans of Operation Protective Edge to be mourned Wednesday in Remembrance Day ceremonies nationwide and in his home state of Ohio. David, 21, a combatant of the Shaked Battalion of the Givati Brigade, was not one of the 67 soldiers killed battling Hamas. But he died in uniform, with his weapon at his side, less than two weeks after returning from Gaza. Much to our frustration, the circumstances of his death are still unknown to his bereaved family and friends, who eagerly await the conclusions of a painfully protracted IDF investigation.
A few weeks after his tragic death, my family discovered this letter David wrote shortly before deploying to Gaza.
As a man, friend and relative, David wore his heart on his sleeve. His raw, unfiltered and honest account of his thoughts going into Gaza reflects not only his bravery as a soldier, but his sensitivity as a person. What follows is a letter sent prior to entering last summer’s battle. Only initials have been provided for the names below to protect their privacy.
We believe David, a talented writer and blogger, wanted this to be shared.
The words speak for themselves.
See the latest opinion pieces on our Opinion & Blogs Facebook page
My dear family and friends,
If you are somehow reading this then it means one thing only: I am dead.
Do not be alarmed, it happens to everyone eventually. My final calling just happened to arrive early. In battle. After over two decades of life.
And what a life it was! I mean, I really had an unbelievable journey. Granted, I had my fair share of trials and tribulations, some publicly disclosed, most not.
Although, despite all that, I was fortunate to be born into a family of educated and compassionate individuals. People of class and good values. Considering the sorry state of the world I was thrown into, I had it better than most and that’s saying something! I was also blessed with meeting and befriending very powerful and influential human beings. Social leaders and trend-setters, artists and examples of life that inspired me to be the person I was before I died. There are some exceptional cases that helped me tremendously along my, at times, perilous path. For that, I must thank and publicly acknowledge those guardian angels, albeit posthumously.
1) S.R.: Thank you for your support through all the times, good and bad.
You were my mentor till my last breath, a teacher who taught by example. You showed me how to balance and swim through both calm and turbulent waters.
I think I owe half of my personality to you.
2) S.I.K.: Although you may not know this, the truth is stranger than fiction.
You saved my life. You not only extended a hand to pull me from the dark depths of my personal purgatory but you lifted me up, brushed me off and pointed me to the direction of the light. Although you were unable to be there to save me again, I know that if you could have, you would. Your honesty and empathy encouraged me and your sensitivity reinstilled my faith in humankind, long after I had given up hope. For that, I thank you.
3) A.S.D.M.: You must forgive me for not even attempting to try but words fail me. I am in awe of our friendship. I humbly thank you.
4) Y.E.C.: sorry buddy. Despite your vehement opposition, I drafted into the IDF. It was my choice and my consequence.
But in general your advice has helped me get through the end. You not only lent an ear but two. I may have yapped both ears off but little do you know that our conversations helped formulate my life-view and were the inspiration for much of my writing. We always joked that the two of us would be wildly successful in the future. Old, arrogant, rich bastards sipping scotch and wiping our asses with Benjamins.
You have had a head start. And when you do get to the top of it all, please have me in mind. With me, the competition, gone I have given you a clean shot to be the best! 5) The ENTIRE H. Family: I vividly remember expressing my thoughts and thanks to you all on a rather lengthy scroll in the summer of 2011. I know you keep it safe in your treasure chest of notes from those whose hearts you have touched. Please read it again. It means more now than ever before.
6) B. T. and family.
7) Lt. E.N.: You taught me how to be a warrior without compromising my personality and values. You are a real leader with a fist of steel and a heart of gold.
Thanks for bringing out the best of me.
9) Rabbi & Mrs. D.C.: You two are by far the cutest and hippest couple I have ever met. Your ability to balance two worlds – traditional Orthodoxy and modern lifestyle – is admirable and a feat I was unable to accomplish. Although I did not always agree with your worldviews, you have taught me that it is possible to live a life of moral value while not compromising personality and open-mindedness. Your drive to educate while being educated inspired me to continue searching for the truth.
10) D.M.: You are a crazy bastard and I mean that with all my spirit! But it was your bastardly behavior that steered me on the right track. I was a snowball full of hatred and poison tumbling uncontrollably down the mountain of addiction and depression. Like a concrete wall, you stood your ground in face of my wrath, absorbing the blow. The force shattered my many secretive layers thus, exposing the raw root of my troubles. From that point forward I was able to start my life.
So thanks, bastard! I also must thank the multitude of ex-girlfriends and lovers that have smashed through my life. You have kept my heart beating while teaching me my ability to love and be loved. Sorry it didn’t work out in the end. It wasn’t you, it was me.
A special shout-out to all the terrible people out there who have abused, neglected, propagated and discouraged me. Your long reach was not effective against Team Gordon and my army of Angels. Although, you did teach me exactly how not to act. And that was half the battle. Thanks a lot, assholes.
To the Islamo-fascist, terror-loving deathly jihadis out there who took my life: you will never win. Scum like yours has been around long before your pipe-dream cult came to be. Yet, despite insane ideology, there are still good people out there. And I’m thankful to have known a few.
Lots of love from the other side :)