Why Go?


The following is a repost from a blog I did back in 2015 on my way to Mosul. The message rings true today. We are driving on with many projects around the world while looking to finally hand over Raise the Black to the Iraqi people. In the process, I wish to reshare this post, as it explains, in-part, why we go.

Why go? Why risk it all? Why Raise the Black? Why TWIMCF? In all it’s simplicity… Why? These are the most common questions I am asked… I will do my best to explain while sharing one of the songs that expresses my deep connection to others. The following song expresses my love for humanity and has been a powerful piece of who I am for a long time. I have a deep love for music and this song is one of many that are my driving force. Below I will express how I feel and what my mind goes to when listening to the following song.

 Elastic Heart - Sia

 And another one bites the dust
But why can I not conquer love?
And I might've got to be with one
Why not fight this war without weapons?
And I want it and I wanted it bad
But there were so many red flags
Now another one bites the dust
And let's be clear, I trust no one

 My thoughts immediately go to those we have lost. From fighters to innocence, we lose so much with the overwhelming amount of hate in our current world. I know that our world isn’t nearly as dark as one thinks, however, the darkness that does exist is pure evil and overwhelms the amount of love being shown. My thoughts run to why so much war? Why so much death? I am not anti-violence. I am actually pro violence. For those that think this is hypocritical, Archangels exist in the majority of today’s leading religions…

We have seen the red flags for years. All the wars without the love. My favorite lesson from war? Love. Being involved in some of America’s most intense situations in one capacity or another, the one thing I learned above all. With violence must come love…

 I go because it is what I am supposed to do in this life.  I am blessed to know something that many people have no clue about. I know my purpose. I was put here for one reason and one reason only. To bring joy and love. I have not always been the best at this, however, I have found my purpose in the last 6 plus years. The Iraqi’s that are fighting ISIS are doing something that 99% of the world will never experience (Inshallah), especially westernized civilizations. They are fighting for the very survival of their country. They are desperately grasping for the life we all take for granted. A chance to free their people. The reason I go? Because I, like many others, gave my word. I, like many others, love these people. Heart and Soul. 

You did not break me
I'm still fighting for peace

My mind goes to all the challenges I have personally faced. The evils. The corruptions. The bad life decisions. All of it. My mind goes to those two simple sentences knowing that I am not broken and that I am and will continue to fight for peace. For love. For humanity. From the simple grins I share in hard times to violently disposing of the evils of this world, I still fight.

 The men of ISOF are the purest example of not breaking. I go because I owe it to the families of these men. They died fighting for a dream we shared together. A life of peace and stability. We trained them in some of the most violent arts imaginable so that they could defend those that couldn’t defend themselves. They fight for those oppressed and they do so with the purest of heart and love. The conversations I have had with these men have showed me that they not only understand the importance for their people, but also the importance for humanity. The importance for Islam. The importance for good. Unlike us, they have seen the unlimited evil’s that is the foundation for ISIS. 

Well I've got thick skin and an elastic heart
But your blade it might be too sharp
I'm like a rubber band until you pull too hard
But I may snap when I move close
But you won't see me move no more
Cause I've got an elastic heart
I've got an elastic heart
Yeah, I've got an elastic heart

My mind goes to my own abilities. I know that I have the ability to withstand more than most. I know that I can bear more than many. However, I know that I often come to the point of failure. I know that I often drive to the ends of my own ability and that the evils we face often bring me to my own knees. That is where my loved ones come in. The ones that support my crazy life decisions and ambitions. From Ash, my family, and dearest friends to perfect strangers that believe in me; my strength comes from you.  I, like my ISOF brothers, bend. I stretch. However, I never break. Too much rides on what we are doing here to break.

I go because these men have lost more than the rest of the world will ever realize. They have lost untold numbers of loved ones, from soldier brothers to blood family. They have bent. They have stretched. But they did not break.

And I will stay up through the night
Let's be clear, I won't close my eyes
And I know that I can survive
I walked through fire to save my life
And I want it, I want my life so bad
And I'm doing everything I can
Then another one bites the dust
It's hard to lose a chosen one

During this verse, my mind goes to visions and thoughts of never giving up. The plethora of images of devastating moments flood my mind. From the Baghdad Church Massacre to looking Trent in the eyes and saying, “I don’t know if we are going to make this one brother, know that it’s been an honor” during the early moments of Operation Medusa, my mind goes to these moments as a reminder that I’ve been there. It reminds me that many have been there and the ones I shared these moments with just smiled back at death with me. My mind goes to how bad I desperately want to help as many people as possible while I am still walking this earth. I don’t think people truly grasp how much this very idea weighs on me. Am I doing enough? Can I do more? Am I living a life that honors my fallen brothers?

I go because these men will never stop. Their thirst for their very own free country shines with every mission. Ever tragedy. Every victory. I will hopefully never know the feeling for truly fighting, as a true patriot, for the very land I call home. We all claim to be patriots and in ways we are, however, we will never taste that which quenches the thirst for taking back our lands from pure evils. Only our forefathers have lived that. I go, because I believe in their cause and I desperately want them to experience the life that we take for granted here in the US.

 You did not break me (You did not break me, no, no)

I'm still fighting for peace

Well I've got thick skin and an elastic heart
But your blade it might be too sharp
I'm like a rubber band until you pull too hard
But I may snap when I move close
But you won't see me move no more
Cause I've got an elastic heart

Well I've got thick skin and an elastic heart
But your blade it might be too sharp
I'm like a rubber band until you pull too hard
But I may snap when I move close
But you won't see me move no more
Cause I've got an elastic heart

Well I've got thick skin and an elastic heart
But your blade it might be too sharp
I'm like a rubber band until you pull too hard
But I may snap when I move close
But you won't see me move no more
Cause I've got an elastic heart

To my friends, family, and random followers; I write this today in order to share with you who I am. As with everything we do in life, the future is uncertain. In the coming times, I will be traveling to uncertain lands to link up with brothers I have never met. If for some reason my path doesn’t bring me back home, it is important that you all know what we wish to accomplish. I’ve lost brothers right here in the security of our own country. It is just something that needs to be said. I hope this blog sheds a little light on what we wish to accomplish and answer some the questions some may have…

With love,

 Bryan