Monday, May 27, 2013

A Day Of Gratitude

How can we ever thank our soldiers and Veterans enough?  I've tried, over the years and in my own, small way, to let them know of my gratitude for their choice to join the military and defend the freedom of so many. Even the ungrateful. I hope there are more of us that are grateful than ungrateful, today.  I hope our voices of thanks and gratitude are louder than the pinheads who don't have a clue what these brave persons do for them (and us).

One of the ways I try to say thanks (besides shaking the hand of every single Vet I meet) is to write poetry. If you'd like to see some of my poetry showing my gratitude to the military, please go here.  As for today, I'm going to share a monologue I wrote. Please understand, this is my own interpretation of what a Warrior might say to someone with little to no understanding of what it is they do and have done. I would never presume to speak for the Warrior in any way. I also have a feeling there will be those that are offended by this. That's fine. It's not my intent to offend, but I'm also not going to back down from my gratitude to and support of our military. We need them. And we should be grateful they're there.
Think about it.
A Warrior's Voice
Look at me.

No, look me in the eyes.

Don’t pretend you don't see or hear me.

You had a question. I heard you ask it and because of that I’m the one who gets to answer so don’t stand there and ignore me, don’t avert your eyes and don’t pretend to care when you don’t understand what these crosses really stand for.

Not yet, you don’t. But you will.

You wanted to know why we chose to join the military. Why we chose to fight. Why we chose to go to a far away country and, I believe your words were, invade it. That’s what got my attention, what got all our attention.

That one little word.


As if we chose to go to war. As if war is our fault. It isn’t. I don’t care which war you’re asking about, none of the wars were our fault. But, there were actions that required an answer. A firm, decisive, line-drawn-in-the-sand answer. The enemy didn’t quite believe that line was real so he not only stepped over it, he tried to obliterate it, and anyone near it, in the process.

Oh, yes, there’s an enemy and it isn’t me or my fellow Warriors. We’re not the ones who killed women and children in the name of “purification of the human race.” We’re not the ones who strapped bombs to the bodies of our youth and sent them out to kill themselves in the name of some god who hates us because we don’t believe in him.

We’re the ones who kept those killers from these shores.

You watch the news and you see what they want you to but you miss the good things we do.

The toys we hand out.

The medicines we dispense.

The smiles and hugs freely given.

The games played with children who don’t get to play much anymore.

The child cuddled because the Madman shot and killed her entire family and she’s sobbing for a mother she doesn’t understand won’t ever again come to hold her.

That’s what the media doesn’t show you. That’s what we fought and still fight for.

You still don’t get it, do you? Maybe I, we did our jobs a little too well. Because we chose to fight the Madman, we’ve been able to keep him from our shores… well, mostly. You’ve suffered some deprivation, you’ve grieved over lives lost, but you haven’t really suffered. Not really.

Yes, I get to say that to you. I get to say that because I and my fellow Warriors have suffered. Suffered to keep the Madman away from you. In heat, cold, rain, snow, whether we were sick or well, hurt or whole. It didn’t matter. Wherever he was or is we’ll go there to fight him.

But, it’s not just for you we fight. Sure, we want him to stay far, far away from the homes of our loved ones. Even from those who hate us for the job we chose to do. But, we also fight for the innocents. You’re not the only ones who should be free from senseless death and genocide. You’re not the only ones whose children should feel free to run the streets and scream with laughter instead of fear.

Do you see, now? Do you understand, yet?

We didn’t “invade” anywhere for personal gain but, rather, to liberate those under the oppressive heel of tyranny. The places we’ve gone, the lives that were lost, it was a choice we made. One we knew might mean our deaths.

One that did mean my death.

But, it was a choice that needed to be made. One I would make all over again, even knowing the suffering I’ll go through when I’m shot. Even knowing the emotional pain my family will have to live with, I’d make that choice again.

We all would.

You see, because we made that choice, and even though our families grieved and grieve for us still, they are Free.

They cried when they received word that we’d died in battle.

But they received it in Freedom.

They cried and held each other as they watched our coffins lowered into the ground, the graves marked by these simple white crosses.

But they clung together, and in Freedom.

Our families have not been separated and interred in prison camps or forced into slave labor or killed simply because they didn’t fit the Madman’s imagined “perfect” human because we chose to defend that Line-In-The-Sand against the Madman.

It’s a hard choice. It’s made harder still by those who call us “war criminals” simply because we stand up to the school-yard bully. That’s exactly what he is, too. A bully. He runs and hides when we step up to defend that Line. He won’t face us in honest battle. But, instead of crying out against the Madman, we are denigrated for trying to stop him and protect you. It makes a hard job harder still.

Especially for our loved ones.

You certainly don’t want to hear that someone's told your family you are a "tool of the military industrial complex" or a "warmongering psychopath brute," do you? Yet, so many of you do just that to ours. You upset our parents and spouses who already worry about us. You scare our children into thinking we’re blood-thirsty monsters. We’re fighting to keep you free, too, you know.

Instead of calling us names and deriding our choice to defend your freedom, think about what would happen if we weren’t there.

Think about what would happen if the Madman won because we gave up.

Think about the Freedom you have and then imagine it gone if you didn’t have us to defend it.

Defend it with our blood.

Defend it with our very lives.



           Now you can cry.

But, don’t cry for us. We chose this life that we knew might mean death.

No, don’t cry for us.

      Cry for those who still don’t understand these crosses.

           Cry for those who refuse to see we fight because we love you more than ourselves.
© Copyright 2007 Pam Sears (UN: condorsfan at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.

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