A day when we recall those who continue to fight for our freedom as well as those who have succumbed on the battlefield while fighting for our country and our liberty. They’re often faceless; names of those loved ones who we cherish but do not know. To give life’s greatest sacrifice for the greater good.
I’ve known a few who’ve made it their calling to serve our country; we’re both blessed and fortunate to have them still amongst us. But there is a family near by, of whom I know only through friends and family, who on this day (and many others) will remember their cherished fallen soldier. Their son, their brother, their grandson; gone too soon. A likeable lad, one who was community-minded and offered his services to a local volunteer fire department. He gave of himself at home and ultimately gave his all in Afghanistan, killed by a roadside bomb.
Are we quick to forget what has blood has been spilled for the sake of freedom once Remembrance Day has passed? Do our children truly recognize the sacrifice made by these men and women who take extraordinary measures to protect us and/or free the masses? Personally, I’m not a big advocate of war. Primarily because it seems too much like a wrestling match between two powers. Each one besting the other in battle; the only victims are the lives affected. Civilians and soldiers. All in the name of a power struggle. For oil, for land, for whatever. The costs seem so high when considering the toll of human lives lost.
Whether I’m pro-war or anti-war, the sad reality is there. They’re gone. But it doesn’t make the fallen any less the hero. They’ve still laid their lives on the line believing in their hearts that the conflict is needed to ensure the freedoms of people at home and abroad, no matter what amount of political maneuverings are in play behind the scenes. I often think of Vietnam and the public feelings that followed it. There was of course the shame and humiliation as a result of the atrocities that came to light. Some soldiers committed unspeakable crimes against humanity. What about those that did not. The black mark that follows the war seems to have in some way diminished those that gave their all on that battleground as well as the veteran that came back. Disabled or not. They all carried the stain and the stigmas. The discussion that American didn’t belong there is mute at this point. The lives of many commendable soldiers are gone. The toll on civilian life was staggering. Whether I agree with the war or not; their sacrifice is indisputable.
Afghanistan has followed a page in history; creating yet another marked black gash in our history books. There are many arguments, but the most commonly I’ve heard are that the Americans have been in Afghanistan for too long. War is emotional and tragically human. Foreign correspondents now bring home the atrocities. Into our living rooms; in live sequences with air strikes and curling smoke in the background. In years since the conflict began, the media has taken less of an interest in carrying the newsfeed. Whether it was a political ploy to make it quietly go away or the lack of good copy, I don’t know and don’t care to comment. But the loss of life has been significant both in the active combat and the peace-keeping missions. Does the popular belief diminish the loss of life? I hope not. For these young men and women have, despite the politics, still paid the price dearly. Their families and friends back home have paid the price.
So on Remembrance Day, no matter what beliefs you hold on to, remember the son or daughter that didn’t come home. Quell your own opinions and just know that theirs was the final gift to keep somebody somewhere safe. Feel freely for them, for their life ended because of their belief of freedom for all.