The Soldier - A well deserved salute and a heartfelt prayer.
He's a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student,
pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has
a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to
be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and
roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and 155mm howitzer. He is 10 or
15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working
or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk.
He may have trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can
field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He
can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and
use either one effectively if he must. He digs foxholes and latrines and can
apply first aid like a professional. He can march until he is told to stop or
stop until he is told to march.
He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without
spirit or individual dignity. He is self-sufficient. He has two sets of
fatigues: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens
full and his feet dry. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but
never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own
clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you're thirsty, he'll share his water
with you; if you are hungry, his food. He'll even split his ammunition
with you in the midst of battle when you run low.
He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like
they were his hands. He can save your life - or take it, because that
is his job. He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the
pay and still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering
and death than he should have in his short lifetime.
He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies, and helped to create them.
He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat
and is unashamed. He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate
through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning
desire to 'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand,
remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out,
far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.
Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying
the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the
American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.
He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding.
Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration
with his blood. And now we even have women over there in danger,
doing their part in this tradition of going to War when our nation calls
us to do so. As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot. A short lull,
a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets.......
"Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our
time of need. Amen."
Our troops are at war with real enemies no matter how much some folks
at home would rather not acknowledge it. This is not a political war but it
certainly is a highly politicized one. Anti-war rallies are all the rage again –
just as they were during the Vietnam War. Far too many Americans do not
understand now, just as they did not then, why our soldiers must be sent
to foreign lands to fight our enemies. It is simple. An individual who loves
his family would always choose to go outside his house to face an armed
criminal that would otherwise break down his door to get into the house
and do harm to his family – especially if his family has not the heart or the
training to take on this intruder. Someone MUST always be ready to act
in defense of values held dear and lives cherished.
Some would have us believe that the above mentioned armed intruder
had a right to enter the family’s house – that the man should just give in
to the wishes of the criminal or be seen as a bully, or that perhaps the
family was at fault for being happy and successful enough to have a
house and cherished possessions. This poisoned thinking has
succeeded in supplying America with more enemies – not less – since it
has been applied to politicized wars.
Think about what would happen if all these young soldiers decided
to walk off their job tomorrow. Do you think that your personal security
or the security of America would be enhanced? Do you think our enemies –
our real enemies - would just leave us alone or that the world would be a
safer place for everyone? Do you think the peace rally marchers would
take up arms and defend you and your family if the war suddenly came to
your doorstep? Do you think the politicians who are calling for the
impeachment of the Commander-in-chief and the Secretary of Defense
would suddenly appear to fight off your enemies? How naïve are you?
Do you think America could have been so successful at preserving at least a
semblance of freedom for over 200 years if there had not always been
young soldiers willing to lay down their lives for it?
They deserve your prayers and your respect – not your continued insistence
on applying politically correct rules to fighting a war in your defense.
Thank God for them! DebV