A Soldier’s Response About Syrian Refugees

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TAMAQUA -- There has been much debate over the past couple of days over whether America should be allowing Syrian refugees into our country since the terrorist attacks in Paris.

But a solider in Schuylkill County says arguing who we should or shouldn't let on our soil isn't the answer. Instead, we should be talking about unity.

Private First Class Justin Startzel of Tamaqua says he has seen so much hate on social media sites over the past few days, he had to speak up.

Monday night, he posted a message on Facebook with his opinion on the refugee matter and terrorist attacks.

"There is power in unity and we, as Americans, need to remember this."

That's how PFC Justin Startzel started a Facebook post. He's in the Pennsylvania National Guard and says he was sick of the hate people have been posting on social media about the attacks in Paris and Syrian refugees.

"We have people in the United States who aren't safe as well, but we don't judge ourselves. So why are we judging people who want hope and a free life?" PFC Startzel asked.

Everyone from governors to civilians have been weighing in over the last few days about whether or not the United States should still allow refugees from Syria to come to our country.

Startzel thinks that's what the terrorist want to divide our country. He thinks it's important to remember that not everyone is dangerous.

The soldier says after those attacks in Paris, it's a time now more than ever that, instead of arguing over who we let into our country, we should instead be proud to be an American and to hang our flags.

"Instead of bashing each other, we should buy a $10 American flag and hang it up on our front porches."

Instead Startzel says we should be focusing our anger to the real terrorist responsible for those attacks. He says if he gets the call to go overseas, he will fight for the United States with honor.

"Since 9/11, we've been fighting the war on terrorism. We've been there. We've had troops going in and out of the Middle East continuing to fight for our freedoms to keep us safe at home."

PFC Statzel did say he thinks there should be a screening process for refugees.

It's important to remember though even those governors who are against letting refugees into the United States, it is a federal law so individual states can't make that decision.


  • Bruse O

    I pray the soldier contacted his commander and requested permission to make statements to the media after identifying himself as a soldier or the Public Affairs Office. Although he may not have deployed or seen physical combat, he is still a soldier and responsible for his statements. He is not an expert in this matter concerning Syrian refugees. This soldier requires immediate counseling from his chain of command. The author is a former retired staff sergeant and veteran with 23 years of service and I authorize this message.

  • Nikita

    We have working ppl struggling who can’t get help from the government and losing their house and we just give non citizens everything. We have homeless ppl here even veterans are struggling but do we make sure they are taken care of???!!!! Of course not!!!!

  • Tyler

    I am ashamed that WNEP would air this story as “A soldier’s response”. He is out of the national guard for two weeks. There are countless other soldiers that could give a better opinion to this subject that have witnessed or been apart of our armed forces for a lot longer. But unlike him, those soldiers are smart to not use their rank or the fact that they are in the armed forces to sell their perspective.

  • Robert Algar Jr

    So now we’re relishing the ranting of a PFC? Really? Oh that’s right, he’s a soldier and his word is the superior mindset. Give me a break….

  • Scott Orcutt

    Again I use this analogy borrowed from another post. If I gave you 10 grapes, and told you only two were poisoned… would you eat any? No? Oh c’mon, it’s only two percent of the total. Now it’s time for simple math. That’s 20 out of 100…200 out of 1000… 2,000 out of 10,000… 20,000 out of 100,000…. Get the picture?

    • George Goodno

      Humans aren’t grapes. And nobody is handing us a bag of refugees. There is a multi-year process for admitting a refugee that includes a background search. Here’ another perspective: If one of your Brussels sprouts is moldy, it doesn’t mean you have to throw out the entire bag.

  • Carl

    He is NOT a soldier. he did NOT get deployed, He has NOT shot anyone, he has NOT been shot at, he has NOT seen war with his own eyes, don’t believe what you hear or see on the news like this fake propaganda to make it look like soldiers want refugees. when honestly any real soldier, who was Actually deployed would tell you something quite different, there was an attack in France and there WILL be an attack in America. Don’t pray for France, that does nothing, instead go over there an help them then, or the Syrians, go to Iraq an help them there Justin S tart zel, you NEVER will!

  • John Danger

    Justin is just out for attention, he just got done basic training? ive seen a bunch of people do basic training but they never actually go and fight, so i don’t think that counts as him being in military or the national guard. and isint he supposed to be on council. guess he gave up on that already, why does this kid keep getting on the news? because he is pro-everything? or does he just want to were a uniform where people might actually listen to him because they think hes “served”; ive known this kid since HS, he constantly seeks attention. like when he used to throw all those underage parties, because no one cared about him…like seriously, WHY IS THIS NEWS??????

  • Randy

    A well said statement PFC Justin, you are right, people need to stick to unite “Unity”
    One question “will these people coming into the U.S. be willing to fight against there own people in the war against Terror”?

  • lcpl vuksta joseph

    He is a joke we don’t need that trash here we have our own they need to stay where they are bring them here and they will cost cause and bring more issues and I will not except them but doubt I’ll be on the bed for this one

  • John Smith

    Ask this naïve young man if he would allow a total stranger to live in his house, with his wife and children, or his parents. A person he’s never met, and has no idea about his back round, his morals or his mental status. This is exactly what is happening with these “refugees”, writ on a global scale. It’s called pathological altruism, and it gets people killed. The events in France in the last year have proven it.

  • SSG O

    Why is WNEP making a big deal about this soldiers comments? First off he is a PFC. If he came into the army as a PVT he has roughly 18 months in service. Less if he was awarded rank for college or eagle scout. He is wet behind the ears and knows little about the army. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying his message isn’t a good one in regards to being unified but he has 0 experience. I’m a SSG working on my 15th year in the army. Been deployed to Iraq. Worked with Muslim’s from many nations. Are they all bad? Absolutely not. But guess who we were mainly fighting in Iraq post 2005? Mostly Syrians, Iranians, Jordan’s. They were flooding Iraq to fight the US military. The politicians & others want you to believe we are saving women & children. Let me tell you there are lots of young military age men included with these “refugees”. Let me also tell you from personal experience that women and children can be extremely dangerous as well because most people don’t look at them as threats. For example children running up to a HMMWV asking for water or food. The next thing you know one of them drops a live grenade thru your window and runs off. It happens. It is real. Are we to believe the government is going to lock up and house these individuals for this great background and “vetted” checks they are going to conduct that can take a year? We have people now crossing the border from Mexico that we can’t find and or catch. If these people are not under lock and key they will run and they will mix in with society. They could hook up with ISIS sympathizers already here in the country and be provided the things they need to mimic the attacks in Paris. The possibilities are limitless. The best thing for both the real refugees that need help and assistance and for the American people is to provide assistance as we can but not by jeopardizing our own people and families.

  • Chasity

    If they can’t even give a home to the homeless . than they shouldn’t give a home to non u.s citizens… We have veterans and others who has to suffer in this cold weather n barely eating but they wanna provide homes n food n ect. To Syrians they need to worry about there own people before worrying about possible terrorist … This system is so messed up …

  • La Farina

    When that nice young soldier comes back from his first tour, he will have a reality check and different view. Shame on obama and the white house for continually ignoring the Christian and Yazidi women and girls being sold into sex slavery to other sunni muslims long before the exodus of the syrian muslim refugees! How dare and sinfully evil to have ignored them! Nice how y’all ignoring this. Shame on Gov Wolf who reminds me of Mayor Bloomberg who showed his true colors! It’s the “Idealogy of the Rich One World Government Extremists” who want to take away our Freedoms and depopulate the earth! Everyone needs to look up “False Flag”.

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