To the Thousands of Michael Behenna Supporters,
As we approach the blessed season of Christmas there is so much to celebrate and to be thankful for. Michael was released over nine months ago and he enjoys his freedom in ways that you and I most likely take for granted. The freedom to behold the beauty of wide open spaces, of sunrises and sunsets, quiet drives along the backroads of Oklahoma, listening to the restless sound of the autumn wind, or just sitting quietly on his porch as deer and wild turkey cross his front yard in the country. It is a peaceful life for a man at peace with himself.
Michael’s work, although physically taxing, gives him a great sense of accomplishment and purpose. Cattle ranching certainly seems to fit him well and the cows don’t ask many questions ….unless they are hungry. He enjoys the hard work and the long days. Most nights he is asleep before his head hits his pillow, with his dog Bo snoring right beside him. We truly believe that his new life was made possible by the support and prayers that each of you provided for Michael during his difficult time in prison.
While Michael is free to enjoy his life there is still much to be done. I am speaking of several other Soldiers who remain incarcerated in Leavenworth under similar circumstances as Michael. They too need to be lifted up and told they are meaningful and not forgotten. These Soldiers are part of what we call the “Leavenworth 10” and were also convicted of murder in war zones. Their alleged crimes were not massacres, but rather an instantaneous reaction to a threat against them or their Warrior Brothers. None of them had criminal records prior to their single military incident and we personally vouch that they are definitely not a threat to anyone. A few have been paroled, but several remain in prison with long sentences. You can read about their individual stories at www.L10freedomride.com. A simple letter or a few dollars to their canteen accounts will go a long way to showing them that Americans still care about them. In this time of giving, please consider them a worthy cause for your prayers and support.
We sincerely hope that you are filled with joy and gratitude this holiday season and surrounded by all those you hold dear.
Merry Christmas to you all!
Scott and Vicki Behenna
Here are a few pictures of Michael enjoying life, especially with his new niece Lily.
As you consider all that you have to be thankful for this holiday season, please say a prayer for the men and women of our armed forces whose service protects our freedom to worship as we choose.
Here is a video and a poem that a few of Michael’s supporters shared with us:
A Different Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So slumbered I, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Trooper, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment. It’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said, “It’s really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.”
“It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died in Europe on a day in December,”
Then he said,”That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures. He’s sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and Blue American Flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”
“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”