When I was living in New York I never personally knew anyone who was in the military. I never met a person who went to fight in Iraq or Afghanistan. I never met anyone who was risking his or her life in the midst of battle to protect our country.
While living in Hawaii I have met many people from different branches of the military who serve our country and put their lives on the line for our freedom. They go to war, they fight hard, and endlessly. Knowing someone who has went to the battle ground one, two, or, three times makes this war a reality that I once choose to ignore. Hearing stories from the field and, seeing how families are affected by multiple deployments, brings to life a side of this war that I was blind to when I did not know a single member of our military. Hearing a story told through the media, and hearing a story told by a person who was actually fought in combat are two completely different experiences. This experience has put a few things in perspective and also adds a new spin to the meaning on what it means to fight for freedom. Last week we celebrated Veteran’s day, but for what our Veteran’s do for us as civilians we should take a moment each day to honor them and what they contribute to our own personal well being.
To know a solider, a wife of a solider, or a child of a solider whose father has died while in combat, to me is a surreal experience. People are fighting, dying, families are waiting patiently with anxiety for loved ones to return. If they do not return hearts are broken, the family is permanently broken. Some soldiers come back different. PTSD is real. They go to war and see things that they wish they have never seen, they experience things that they wish they have never experienced. The game of war is not a video game with a reset button, in life there is only one chance to survive.
Personally, I am still against the war. Don’t get me wrong, I feel this is a war that did not have to happen. As the Black Eyed Peas, say in their song “Where is the Love”, “there is a war going on and the reason is undercover”. This is not a war of freedom, it is a war of politics. So for that, since lives are lost each day in vain, I will continue to be against the war. However, I will continue to honor, support, and not take for granted the men and women who fight in this war. A friend of mine says that he feels “honored” every time he puts own his army uniform. He has pride when he fights for our country. So to my friends, and all our troops, past and present, I say Thank You.