About six month's ago---I'm not sure of the day but I know it was before Memorial Day---I was flying back from a trip out of state and picked up a couple of magazines to read on the flight. In one of the magazines---it was either Time or Newsweek---there was a story about the plight of soldier's families who are left at home to fend for themselves while their father or mother is deployed overseas. After I quickly thumbed past the article to begin reading another, I felt a very significant pang of guilt. You see, the reason I wanted to look past it was I didn't want to deal with it.
Quite frankly, I was disappointed in myself and quite shocked. The fact that I was the son of a career military man who watched my dad leave hom twice while serving in two different overseas venues,that my brother is currently active duty and has been overseas a number of times, and my brother-in-law is a veteran who was stationed in the desert during Desert Storm makes me particularly ashamed. I know the sacrifice that families make for their soldier parents. I have felt the loneliness that a child feels when his dad is gone. I know the worry that is in the heart of every family.
In fact, at the beginning of the most recent Iraqi war, I watched a Nightline episode about the deploying of National Guard troops. The episode ended with the soldiers marching away. As they were leaving, from the background the sound of a young boy's voice saying, "I love you, Dad," ended the show. I literally cried for most of the night. It was like all of the anxieties I had felt as a young boy that had been buried underneath all of those years came out. (The thought of it is making me cry now.)
Why then did I look past the article? Why would I do that?
I believe it is that it is easier for me to pass over the sacrifice of these soldiers and their families by ignoring them. If I don't read about it, I won't remember. I won't have to feel the pain again.
The problem, of course, is that these families do feel the pain. Their pain has secured my liberty. Their pain has bought me the security to sit in a plane and skip the story written by a free press about their suffering.
I owe my freedom, my liberty, and my life to veterans.