To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Saturday, September 30, 2023


A Purple Heart For Christmas



I’m glad the United States is bringing America’s sons and daughters, our troops, home from Iraq before Christmas.

My son Bryan died in Iraq, in a town named Albu Hyatt, north of Baghdad, Sept. 6, 2007.

He and three others died, but 40 to 50 troops behind them lived.

A suicide bomber gunned a newer model truck, loaded with explosives, at them from a checkpoint less than one block in front of them.

I re-enacted this event with my truck, and found Bryan had one and half seconds to react in this quick ambush.

The West Point graduate who designed this roadblock got a bronze star and then a job with a private contractor.

And I got Bryan’s Purple Heart for his service.

The Iraq War has only affected a few families personally, unless you count higher fuel prices and a larger national debt.

The ones closer to the war have had their lives changed forever.

Just like mine and Bryan’s friends, who put the fire out while others in America were attending football games.

Looking forward to Christmas I think of passed years, when we would play cards until late in the evening. Sometimes laughing until our eyes watered.

This upcoming Christmas, I thought about putting Bryan’s Purple Heart medal at his chair and dealing out the cards. But I know it will not be the same.

It all began with him pledging allegiance to the flag and starting each sporting event with the Star Spangled Banner.

America was someone he trusted to always tell the truth.

He trusted our leaders as he trusted teachers and coaches to be on the right side of humanity.

Never did he think the people behind our flag would lie to him, burn his remains and throw his ashes into a landfill.

He was awarded a purple heart, but no answers to the Iraq War.

George W. Bush shrugged his shoulders and said “faulty intelligence, next question please.” Later I heard him say he wishes he had better intelligence at the time.

So, if George Bush wishes this, why not tell us who was responsible for this faulty intelligence, because each source would lead to a person’s name.

I know it’s awkward for our Justice Department to investigate the ones who appointed them, so this would relieve that pressure.

And heaven forbid, we don’t want to make this mistake again.

Maybe I should be happy with a Purple Heart medal here at Christmas, knowing we are free of Iraqi drones overhead. And not look at our rulers behind our flag.

But it’s hard not to when you lose a son.

John Scripsick is a full-time cattle rancher and farmer in Wayne, OK and an occasional contributor to The Oklahoma Observer



  1. Killer quote: “Never did he think the people behind our flag would lie to him, burn his remains and throw his ashes into a landfill.

    He was awarded a purple heart, but no answers to the Iraq War.”

    Ribbons are cheap when you hand them out yourself, except that someone dies to get it.

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.
Mark Krawczyk
Mark Krawczyk
March 9, 2023
Exceptional reporting about goings on in my home state as well as informative opinion pieces that makes people think about issues of the day...........get a SUBSCRIPTION FOLKS!!!!!!!
Brette Pruitt
Brette Pruitt
September 5, 2022
The Observer carries on the "give 'em hell" tradition of its founder, the late Frosty Troy. I read it from cover to cover. A progressive wouldn't be able to live in a red state without it.