As has been my misfortune to experience war first hand, I am following my stepson, Justin, into a foreign land and in harm's way. I am not emotional to a great extent, for it is my opinion that all citizens, male and female, should serve their country. However, this young man will be in for the most trying experience, maybe of his life.
His mother carries a heart of worry for him as can be expected. However, if one has not experienced watching a child walk away to cross continents, no one can appreciate the emptiness of that moment. While serving in the military is a welcome experience for most young men and women, the risk and anguish of those left behind is rarely felt by others. The warriors feel invulnerable. Those waiting feel the most vulnerable to the potential visit of strangers bringing news of your loved ones. We can only hope not to experience that visit.
We hear and read daily of the decorated heroes of ours and past eras of war. I ask that each of you think daily of those who serve, faithfully, but are not seen, heard or felt by most of this country. These warriors are daily heroes, not asking for recognition, but just asking to be appreciated.
As Justin embarks on this risky adventure we will keep him in our prayers and thoughts. He will deploy any day to Iraq for a one year tour.
Pride in your service does not seem to surface until many years later. It is my conclusion that this is due to unselfish service to our country and a misunderstanding by the citizens of our sacrifices. We do not want to seem fishing for your gratitude but would like a bit of your respect. Fortunately, the current generation of warriors are receiving this gratitude. When a citizen is never called upon to make a sacrifice that could cost a life, they cannot know the ghost of death that lingers over most of our warriors. This ghost can give you a kiss and say goodbye, or invade your heart and soul, taking your son, daughter, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend or loved one. The ghost has not soul, remorse, feelings, motives, plan, past or future. Only the insatiable need for sustenance provided by our warriors.
May they all be safe!