Thursday, October 04, 2007

All We Need

Some years ago, I had a conversation with a friend of mine, a World War II veteran, in which he described his decision to put the cow-milking business on hiatus to enlist in the Marine Corps. He would leave town on the train to Chicago and not come home for over three years.

Can you imagine that? Better yet, can you imagine being his mother, never once getting to even speak to him in three years? Three years, waiting day to day for casualty lists to be published, for the awful sight of two uniformed men on your porch, never knowing where your child is or if he is alive, or whole.

The headlines wouldn’t have helped.

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And yet, people endured this. Even when MacArthur abandoned the Philippines, the failure of Operation Market Garden, the horrible casualties in the Ardennes and Iwo Jima, even when it was not clear at all that we were winning this war, one thing had to be clear: that we could not afford to lose it, either.

I think perhaps the folks living in that time had qualities that we as Americans no longer possess. Actually, there’s a hell of a lot that they knew that we may have forgotten: loyalty, frugality, morality, the value of family; this list could go on and on. But tops on my list right now is PATIENCE. The ability to see the Big Picture, to read between the lines, the assurance that America CAN NOT be defeated overseas unless she is first defeated at home.

We have met the enemy, and he is us.

For the life of me, I can’t understand how losing a war is a good thing. We are not the same Americans of sixty years ago. Our wants and desires need to be satisfied immediately. Speaking personally, it has happened many times that my hands have itched for a computer to look up a piece of information, or I have bought on credit something that my parents would have saved for. Instant gratification and the lack of a crystal ball seem to plague us.

It affects so many when applied to the Long War. We haven’t won, so we must be losing, right? The situations in Iraq and Afghanistan are still filled with violence, so we can’t win! Those people are too abused, too dysfunctional to EVER be a civilized nation! We can’t look in that crystal ball we long for and see that in five, ten years, maybe our lifetimes, that THIS was worth the effort, the lives, the money, to try to rid this world of one of the greatest threats to ever face mankind.

Issue me my fatwa right now- ISLAMOFASCISM.

So I try, and ask everyone else to also, be PATIENT. My grandparents sent sons to war, to keep our world safe. Inarguably, their sacrifice DID make the world better, although at the time, the final outcome was far from obvious. If you need a little inspiration to help you keep the faith, I can only offer this:

Son #2, even though he has been to Iraq, had his bell rung a few times while over there, and then got out of the Army, well…He went back. He might not deploy for awhile, but surely will at some point and He. Went. Back.

Son #4 has already re-enlisted, and will be going back to Iraq sometime between now and next spring.

Young SGT, who was hurt so badly this spring, will be leaving soon. He can walk with his body armor, but can’t run. He could get out of going if he so chooses, but he does not. He’s going with his Joes and that’s all there is to it.

I don’t know why they do it. Whether for friends or for Country, it doesn’t matter to me. They go, and I like to think they know that they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Something Important. If they can do this, I can be patient. Be patient, and keep trying to convince others that we must not be defeating ourselves here at home.


At 10/04/2007, Blogger Richmond said...

Well said, RM. Very well said...

At 10/12/2007, Blogger Sarah said...

I don't think my trackback consider this my trackback :)

At 10/15/2007, Blogger wendy said...

What a fantastic post. Thank you!


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