Teddy Roosevelt was once quoted as saying, "A just war is in the long run far better for a man's soul than the most prosperous peace." While I do not completely agree with this sentiment, I do feel war is sometimes necessary, and that America, as the most powerful nation on the planet, has a duty to help those who, sometimes, cannot help themselves. For better and for worse, I have recently come to the conclusion that an American presence in Iraq is a good thing. While I will spare everyone the political argument of why I feel this way, I would like to talk about the forgotten. The American soldier.
It is easy to forget there is a war going on as we set comfortably in our heated homes; watching television, as I am now; and sleep comfortably in our plush beds. There are still men and women in uniform fighting for the freedom we so graciously take advantage of, and the freedom of those less fortunate. War is a bitch. And unfortunately men and women are killed. Daily. Over the past day I have watched three documentaries about our men and women in war. And while I take these films with a grain of salt, as with any media, it is undoubtedly clear the toll that war takes on the human spirit. These men and women will never be the same. They will not return to their "normal selves" and how could they after witnessing such atrocities? And to the average American, we act like these soldiers are just run of the mill citizens. Well, they aren't.
I can sense a generational gap in the way we treat soldiers. If you notice, many of the elderly will go out of their way to tell a soldier thank you for their service. They treat soldiers with dignity and an almost reverent respect. Those of us in Gen X, however, usually do not think twice when we see men and women in uniform. I vow today to change this, and I pray all who read this will to. Agree with the war or not, these are our brothers and sisters fighting and dying for us, people they have never met. We as a society are forever indebted to their service and they deserve our utmost respect. So thank you to those who have served and are currently serving. And to those whom I personally know, whom I have never thanked: Bryan Curran, Johnathon Byers, Justin Parrott, Trey Mosby, Patrick Linam, Jason Carter, Matthew Parker, Eric Stanley, Michael Barber, Patrick Barber, and to the many I have forgotten, THANK YOU.