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Well Done

Story ID:5938
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:All USA/Canada
Person:Colonel Donahoe
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I received an email from a friend recently. It was a copy of a letter sent to the
Toronto Sun by USA Army Colonel Patrick Donahoe. I receive so many fake things in
my email, I am skeptical of all of them. I read Patrick’s letter and felt the pride I have for
my homeland of Canada swell.

Was the letter real? I decided to investigate.

The letter was and is real. I contacted Colonel Donahoe. He is a down-to-earth,
great guy. Colonel Donahoe was in Korea during Desert Storm in Iraq. He’s faced
battles in Iraq, served in Bosnia, and was stationed in Kuwait, a few miles from the Iraqi
border, when the World Trade Center towers were destroyed by terrorists on September
11, 2001 and remembers hearing sporadic news of the attacks and sprinting across the
parking lot to his command center to learn more. He had thousands of men and women
under his command. He needed to prepare them for whatever they were to face.

Beside his troops in battle, the Canadian forces have always been present. Colonel
Donahoe has great respect for the Canada men and women who battle at his side. He has
even visited my home province of Nova Scotia.

Colonel Donahoe, I thank you for speaking to me, your service to the country I
now call home and for your kind words about my homeland of Canada.

The following is Colonel Donahoe’s letter to the Toronto Sun.

Letter of the Day
By Patrick Donahoe

You can consider this is my love letter to Canada. The United States and Canada
are inextricably linked — not only in the gold medal game in hockey, but on the
battlefields of Afghanistan and on the training fields of both our countries. We are both
great democracies that inspire people from around the world and we are both magnets for
immigrants. And we are both willing to fight when fighting needs to be done.

I first visited Canada with my family in the late 1970s. We crossed into Canada
from upstate New York, hit Montreal, then drove along the river and crossed back into
New York.

I grew up, went to university and then into the Army. After Desert Storm was
fought while I was in Korea, I went to Fort Knox, Kentucky, and was tagged to host a
group of Royal Canadian Air Cadets out of Mississauga. A great group of folks with
whom I visited on and off over a couple of years in the early ’90s — including one
night wandering around a snowy Canadian training area, wondering how embarrassing it
would be for an American Army Officer to freeze to death in Canada while hanging out
with a bunch of Canadian high school kids.

After marriage, my wife and I vacationed with our baby daughter and my parents
in Nova Scotia, where we saw one of the great intersections of American and Canadian
history. We visited a site where Canadians had repulsed American privateers and I saw
tributes to Loyalist Colonists who left Massachusetts and settled in Nova Scotia.

That was interesting, though not
interesting enough for my wife to forgive me for
trapping her in a minivan with her in-laws. But it was not as inspiring as the people of
Nova Scotia caring for the thousands of people stranded at the Halifax airport on Sept.
11, 2001.

After tours in Bosnia, Kuwait and in Iraq, I found myself at Fort Irwin, California,
with a group of Canadian Army officers and non-commissioned officers who were
helping us train American soldiers en route to Afghanistan — and renewing my
admiration for our northern neighbor.

These were proud representatives of Canada’s bravest — men and women who
had fought the hardest of fights in Afghanistan and who had spilled blood, their own and
that of the enemy. They brought their lessons and they freely gave of their experiences
which in turn broadened the training for these Americans who are engaged in the same

I don’t speak for all Americans, but I’m sure I speak for most — we are humbled
by the burden Canada has born in this war in Afghanistan, and we are honored by her
sacrifice. We serve shoulder to shoulder in this war against extremism. We honor the
Canadians killed on Sept. 11, 2001, and the 140 Canadians who have given their lives in
Afghanistan. We, as Americans, are lucky to have such a neighbor.

So, congratulations on your record-breaking gold medals in Vancouver
— and even on the hockey gold. Well done.

Patrick Donahoe
United States Army

Thank you, Colonel
Michael T. Smith