Thanks to our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines

They are the brave ones who have chosen to put their lives on the line in the name of liberty, and by lives I don’t just mean either being alive or dead. They miss out on so many milestones and moments the rest of us take for granted. The birth of their children, their first words, first steps, first homeruns, first dances, really the first anything and everything. Milestones like weddings, birthdays, school plays, anniversaries, every important occassion you can imagine. But for what?

After having a child of my own and experiencing the unbridled love and devotion that comes with being a parent, I can’t imagine missing out on a single milestone or moment. Just thinking of it makes me start to tear up, which only the national anthem, taps, my college fight song, dead dogs on the side of the road and videos of servicemembers’ homecomings can do. If I ever did commit myself to a cause, it would have to be for an extremely vital one like defending against Chinese and/or Russian paratroopers touching down on U.S. soil. Having quite a few friends and family members in the service I appreciate it more because I’ve experienced the sense of lost time and strained relationships at a more personal level. But for what?

Thousands of American servicemembers have been killed by roadside bombs, suicide attacks, snipers or whatever other sneaky tactics terrorists have employed. Many thousands more have come home missing limbs, and even many thousands more have brought back a closet full of ghosts that will haunt them for as long as they live. One friend I knew since elementary school and played football with shot himself, another I lived next door to since jr. high and wrestled with came back with PTSD. I think he’s gotten past his darkest hours. He’s told me about his best friend’s gruesome death in Iraq and about having suicidal thoughts. He’s even had the gun in his mouth a few times. But for what?

Not that our country’s leaders have a great record of making good decisions, and not that I expect that to ever change. But as the military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan draws down, yet appear to be headed for escalation in other parts of the world, I keep asking myself “why”? Actions to disrupt terrorist organizations really should have and could have been handled much differently. Our vaunted leadership rushed headlong into a situation they had no understanding of and got us bogged down into two absurdly costly wars under the false pretenses of finding WMD and one dude named Osama. Our children and grandchildren will be stuck footing the bill. But for what?

Sacrifice

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~ by vann1912 on 14 December, 2011.

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