As I grow older I develop a stronger sensitivity and appreciation for the men and woman who protect our freedoms every hour of every day. It matters not to me whether they might be emptying a waste basket at the Pentagon or engaged in small arms fire on the streets of Baghdad. Everyone contributes to the effort.
Last night, on television, I was watching an account of WWII and the testimony of several men who survived that horrific war. It gave me pause to consider. I have no idea what it takes to engage an enemy face to face, to shoot someone and watch them fall before my eyes. To be on a ship one minute, than lose over 500 of my friends and shipmates in a single strike, finding myself floating in the ocean trying to dodge the strafing of enemy fire from the planes overhead. I have no idea what it takes to fly a plane loaded with supplies over the “Hump”, knowing that each flight could literally be my last. I have no idea what it would be like to march 90 miles with little food or water in the scorching heat, watching men die all around me or see them taken off to the side of the road an shot because they could not keep up. I have no idea.
Yes, I can judge a war from the sidelines. I can protest the death of young men and women. I can wish none of it was necessary. However, as long as humankind has ideals – however distorted or abusive – as long as there are values that do not coincide with other people’s values, there will be war. It can be fought with words or weapons. But I will never discount the commitment of those in the past, those in the present, or those in the future who choose to defend my right to have and express my ideals and values.
God Bless our Troops and God Bless America.