eighty-eight: a letter + package for Raj

Raj is an amazing man, and remarkable doctor. Fourteen years ago he joined the U.S. Army Reserve; currently he is serving our country in Iraq. He sent word of his safe arrival and mentioned he was winning friends with his French Press (which he packed in lieu of deodorant). Raj’s stories are bone chilling and the work he and so many of our men are doing is truly heroic. I decided a little appreciation was in order.

March 30, 2011


My Dad forwarded your email and recent photos from the desert—your gear must weigh a ton! And your stories are so heart wrenching. It’s hard to imagine life in a war torn nation, especially the lengths people will go to in an effort to generate fear.

Thank you for aiding the wounded soldiers who are so earnestly protecting our country. I think what you are doing is so admirable. And thank you most of all for being so brave, so that the rest of us don’t have to be. Our country is so appreciative of your sacrifices (even if we aren’t always the best about showing our gratitude).

I packed you a couple of essentials—the deodorant you left behind (appropriately in Swagger scent), a replenishment of coffee beans and the coveted Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Something tells me it will win you even more friends than the caffeinated brew.

I hope the next few months of duty fly by and you’re back at home with your wife and daughter in no time. Thank you again for your service to our country.

All the best,


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