Friday, May 28, 2010

War is Hell

Those of you who have been around long enough to remember THIS surely know my feelings on Memorial Day. I want to try and put them into words again today. There is no Dad Blog tilt to this one other than to say I hope this is the type of thing we will all teach our children when they are old enough.

Having just finished watching the HBO miniseries "The Pacific", I have plenty of thoughts about our veterans banging around in my head.  The show does the best it can to illustrate the horrors of war that our troops experienced in places like Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.

The series finale, airing just two weeks ago, closed out with one of the main characters, Eugene Sledge, sitting under a shady tree with a blank stare on his face. His mother had been chiding him about his lack of movement towards getting a career and starting a life after the war. As she was storming off, Eugene's Dad pulled her aside and said, "You have no idea what men like him have been through."

That simple truth is the inspiration for this post today.

I can be the most ardent supporter of our troops to ever live. I can write a post supporting our fighting forces every single day. I can dedicate my life to their honor. But no matter what I do or how hard I try the simple truth is that I will never know what war is like. I will never know the horror that has been experienced by any soldier serving in any war.

I can never understand.

As we celebrate this Memorial Day American troops are still putting themselves in harms way. In Afghanistan battles are raging right now to retake Taliban controlled areas. In the coming months tens of thousands of US troops will participate in what is being called the biggest operation since the war began. They will all be fighting to gain control of the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar.

The stakes for our troops are as high today as they were over 60 years ago in the Pacific. They are still putting their lives on the line and fighting through horrors we civilians can't imagine.

Memorial Day is the day we celebrate those who gave their lives in military service. We remember and pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Like Lee Greenwood sings for every patriotic occasion, "I am proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free, and I won't forget the men who died and gave that right to me."

This year I hope you will take time to remember all the troops that survived their respective wars as well. Remember their struggles with the psychological damage that war causes. Remember those troops who are still suffering that nightmare today. The battle doesn't end when their service time is up. It is a life long battle for many of them.

Let's all take the time to say a prayer today for everyone who has ever served in the armed forces. Whether they lived or died they all gave their lives in sacrifice for this country. Each and every one of them are heroes.

Happy Memorial Day.


Brandy@YDK said...

a great post. You always articulate so well.

Katherine said...

Excellent post. Where I work, every time a soldier from Missouri dies in war, we get an email stating that the governor has requested we fly our flags at half post in memory of them. I hate getting those emails.

I haven't seen The Pacific, but my husband and I watched Band of Brothers not too long ago. I cried through many of the episodes. And hearing the actual people being portrayed in the series before and after each episode really brought it home.

I'll admit that it's hard to remember every day that there are people an ocean away putting their lives on the line for their country. I appreciate every single one of them, and I know they will have a lifetime of issues to deal with. I have friends who have done tours in Iraq or been on peace-keeping missions in Bosnia where they've been responsible for clearing mass graves. It's really sad to know that there are people in our country who actually DON'T respect that and actually criticize the men and women who VOLUNTEER to keep us safe, no matter the physical and mental damage to them!

Wow, I apparently have a lot to say about that! Great post.

Mocha Dad said...

I visited our troops in Iraq and I was inspired by their hard work and sacrifice. I make it a point to do whatever I can to make their lives easier. I hope everyone remembers those who gave their lives to protect our country.

Brian Miller said...

great post otter...we will be remembering and praying as well...those serving now and those that passed to provide that freedom...

Mike said...

WOW! There was a lot of passion in your words! I always support the troops even if I disagree with the policies that put them in harms way! They deserve all of our respect!

WeaselMomma said...

Nicely said. May none of us ever forget the sacrifices that have been made for us.

Linda Bob Grifins Korbetis Hall said...

awesome post.
Happy Monday!

john cave osborne said...

i know i'm late to the party here, but i just wanted to chime in and tell you how similarly i feel to what you wrote.

but more importantly than that -- that was a powerfully beautiful post.

but most importantly of all -- God bless the men and women who fight for our freedom.

thank you for writing this.

SurprisedMom said...

War is Hell. I saw first hand what war can do to a soldier. If you don't get killed in battle, you still leave your soul on the battlefield. Some are strong enough to come home and start living again, others are destroyed slowly from within and eventually lose their lives to "other" circumstances. Whatever the case may be, being a soldier in a war zone forever changes a person.

I was only an observer to what war can do to a person and that was scary enough. I will never know what it is like to experience being a soldier in war time. I don't know if I'd survive, physically, emotionally or mentally.

Thank you for this post. It was powerful.

Tom said...

Amen. You've said it all - who can imagine what it's like to put your very life on the line to preserve the American way of life for people you don't even know? I can't imagine pushing forward to get a job done while there are bullets whizzing past my ears and the potential for getting blown to pieces by a land mine.

Prayers for them all, and their families. God bless 'em.