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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Semper Fi is not just Republican

Given the times and our nations conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan I am constantly finding myself thinking of our citizens in uniform and in our military. I’m proud of them for doing what they were trained to do. Our military is something that every American should be proud of. Not because you are of one political party or the other but for the fact that they are everyone’s children. In that sense then they are my children as well.

I read the news, watch the television version of the news and every single day the body count goes up for the war in Iraq. It isn’t just a body count, those are people reduced down to a number. Our children that are being killed and shipped home for burial is a personal fact of life when in service to our nation in the military to their families. It disgusts me that they are just a number in the grand scheme of things when it comes to Iraq. I hate the fact that people use the deaths our military men and woman that have died as just another statistic.

My political thoughts run to the liberal side of the aisle but my heart is with my upbringing and a father that was proud to serve his nation in two wars. At no point in my upbringing was it ever suggested or inferred to bash our men and woman in uniform. At no point in my transition from child to man was it insisted that I serve in the military. Real men, like my father, who fought in the bloodiest conflicts during World War II, know what war does to a person. He never wanted any of his children to join the military but he was very proud of his own service to his nation.

Dad never spoke of his personal experience during the war until his later years. Alzheimer’s and dementia took him from me but I wonder if the horror he spoke of is just as bad as our kids serving in Iraq and Afghanistan today? I’m pretty confident that it is but then again he never spoke of it his entire life with me till then. His stories were graphic and very intense and his tears and emotion of keeping it all bottled up for all of those years showed in the sorrow of his face and the anger that he could not have saved more lives. As a medic attached to the Marines he was known as Doc, many of the men he promised to take care of did not make it out alive. He felt that he broke the promise to dozens if not hundreds of men that he considered his brothers. For most of his adult life he could not fall asleep unless he took a Sominex or some other sleep inducing pill.

I wonder how much conflict is coming home with our children in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan that are wounded or rotating out? I worry about them and if they can ever get back their lives in America. My heart goes out to all veterans because war is hell. Veterans of battle only talk to other veterans of battle for a reason, they don’t want to recall the intensity of their service and pass it on to their children. World War II veterans are classic cases of this point. They know the experience and yet they do not talk about it for a reason. Many friends, many brothers in service died horribly.

Our nation is blessed with a military that is not of any political party. All of the men and woman in service are there for a reason and a purpose and that is to serve America first. Their orders come from a civilian government and they follow the civilian government orders. They serve proud and they serve with the bravest and brightest that America has.

Over in Europe there are mass graves for our military sons and daughters killed in combat. In the battles to come in the Middle East there will be no burial grounds for American soldiers. That is a thought to think about when people tell you that you can fight them here or over there. Sound bites are nice but somebody just died and they should never be just a number. That person was someone’s child or someone’s husband or mother. They died for America and not for any political thought or ideology.

My personal thought is that if our fallen soldiers are not good enough to be buried on Arab soil then they should not be fighting for your freedom.

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Anonymous Tom said...

Hate to nitpick, but I'd argue that it isn't just soldiers who are "everyone's kids", but all young people, military or civilian. We have a responsibility to them all.

And I fear that a lot of conflict will be coming home. I've heard rather disturbing reports of both the prevalence of psychological problems among Iraq veterans and the government's unwillingness to treat them effectively.

2:30 PM  

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