Monday, August 8, 2011

Just one.

A couple weeks ago, I finished (& I'll say again...) one of the most heroic stories I've ever come across, Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. My brother recommended it and, once I picked up a copy, I couldn't put it down.

I found myself reading 100 pages in one sitting. I couldn't stop myself. This nonfiction work about men with such heroism and valor is nothing short of awe inspiring. Not only the years of training and physical torment they put themselves through, even though those facts alone are completely incredible. What sits with me the most is their unwavering patriotism, their mental stamina. The fact that, when faced with any adversity, giving up is nowhere near an option for these heroes.

They willingly swore to protect you, me, and the ideals of our nation. And, unfortunately, as depicted by the title, not all of them live to tell their tale.

I kept telling Gary, who just started reading this book---which is why I won't say the book's details, this book lit a fire within me, but I wasn't sure what to do with it. I felt this overwhelming pride that America produces men like those I read about; I felt I owed it to them to pass their story to anyone who'd listen. Their story needs to be known. People don't understand the extreme danger that is overseas and I don't think the masses truly understand the mental capacity one must have to navigate such, what can be, dire situations. These men? Certainly not a dime a dozen.

My fire was nowhere near extinguished with the tragic loss last week of those 31 U.S. troops.

Do people understand? I'm honestly curious because Army Wives is as close as the majority of the U.S. gets to military involvement, which is fine; I'm not pointing that out as a fault. But, I think, in the mass media, and their heavily skewed reporting of what goes on in the military, the individuals that make up the military are forgotten. Instead, these fighting men and women are lumped together. These are not how the friends and family of each of those lost last week feel. To them? They lost a son, a daughter, a husband, a wife, a best friend, a parent....

Do people understand that a knock at the door of a soldier's house can change everything? Every family back home fears that knock every single day their soldier is off our soil. That knock where you're informed the last time you saw you soldier was the very last.

The loss of those American lives will change the course of their families' lives forever. Their member of the military will not grace their bedside, or sit down to a family dinner. Their hero will never enjoy another holiday with loved ones. Their hero made the ultimate sacrifice.

So, when Amy Winehouse dies and everyone is up in arms about it, I wish there was something I could do to help people prioritize. When the audacious group known as the Westboro Baptists goes on another tirade against a fallen service member, I wish there was some way I could make them understand that it was the soldier, Marine, seamen, airman, and SEAL that gave them the rights to run their atrocious mouths.

I was told once that I wasn't allowed to "complain" about my husband being overseas, that I wasn't allowed to be sad he was gone. The person telling me this said my husband chose this job, so I just have to deal with it. I wonder, how many of you readers are at your current job because there was a gun pointed at your head to fill out an application? I'm guessing zero, yet you still have days where work wasn't the greatest and you might want to vent about it. I knew what we were getting into when we decided to have a baby yet I have days where I wonder just what the devil is up with Jake. I chose it, but it doesn't mean I'm not allowed to have a bad day. Same for the military. They may have chosen a job where deploying to a land where people hate you is a possibility, but it definitely doesn't mean you have to like it.

I feel like my hands are tied; I feel like there is so much in my heart for the servicemember still with us, for the servicemember no longer with us. I wish I could do something. I wish there was some way I was able to convey just how much I appreciate what they do for us. But, nothing seems good enough, nothing seems grand enough.

Maybe this post will touch someone? Just one person to remember that the individual they see in uniform, looking like a thousand others, is still an individual. They've fought, and trained, and sacrificed time from their loved ones to protect a great nation. That, in this era of having to be respectful of everyone's way of life, maybe we can be respectful of those who gave us the ability to choose our way of life, rather than having it chosen for us?

Because these men and women deserve that much.

Gone but never forgotten.

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived"-- George S. Patton.

1 comment:

Daily Dose of Dahl said...

Well said, Samantha. Hope you don't mind, but I'm going to link back to you in my post today.