Saturday, November 11, 2006


I do not have the words to express my thanks and gratitude to America's armed forces, so this morning I will let the Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars do it for me. From the VFW website:

By VFW Commander-in-Chief Gary Kurpius
America’s armed forces are at war in two theaters: Afghanistan and Iraq. This fall marks the fifth anniversary of the Afghanistan War; operations in Iraq have been under way for well over three years. Already, 1.3 million GIs can call themselves veterans of these conflicts.

So what does the nation owe this newest generation of warriors? What comes to mind immediately are respect and recognition. They are placing their lives on the line for a society largely unable to identify with their sacrifices. With those in uniform constituting the mere fraction of 1 percent of the population, it is the least the public can do.

This lack of a shared sense of sacrifice is a subject that occasionally comes up in newspaper print, but not often enough. Consequently, it is imperative to note some of the related commentaries.

“This is one of the most challenging and uncomfortable subjects in American society—the lack of shared responsibility, across all social and economic classes, in the nation’s defense,” Dan Rodricks wrote in the Baltimore Sun. “We support the troops, but most of us have no interest in seeing our own families engaged directly.

“The point is, one part of America is fighting this war and making all the sacrifices while the rest of us go about our business, concerned but hardly strained. … In fact, those in uniform and their families are being asked to make sacrifices on top of sacrifices.”

As Rodricks said, “We have a great divide in this country—between the military culture and the civilian culture, and it has never been more pronounced than it is right now.”

Ben Stein, writing in the New York Times, asked: “Now, who’s fighting for us in the fight of our lives? Brave, idealistic Southerners. Hispanics from New Mexico. Rural men and women from upstate New York. Small-town boys and girls from the Midwest. Do the children of the powers on Wall Street resign to go off and fight? Fight for the system that made them rich? Fight for the way of life that made them princes? Surely, you jest.”

The theater in which one fights has no bearing on the value of his or her service. Frank Schaeffer, co-author of AWOL, makes this clear. “The act of volunteering to be sent wherever your country needs you must be acknowledged as a priceless gift from the individual citizen to his or her country,” he wrote in the Baltimore Sun. “This gift’s morality doesn’t depend on the rightness or wrongness of any war, but on the soldier’s high-stakes commitment to the value of our democratic experiment.”

ENGAGE, folks! DOn't be a stranger to our military! Today and every day, let them know they have your support.


At 11/11/2006, Blogger Tammi said...

Beautifully put RM.

And spot on. We must be vocal and obvious and most important sincere in our support....

God Bless our Military.

At 11/11/2006, Blogger Richmond said...

Ditto what Tammi said. :)


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