Monday, May 25, 2009

No Theme, Just a Thank You


"Flags of Our Father Redux"
Raleigh, NC - May 2009 (Click to embiggen)


Anybody who was following this blog last November knows my thoughts on the current war in the Middle East. I haven't made a secret of it, and I'll stand by anything I've said on the subject. What you may not understand is how I can be so passionately opposed to the war and still support the troops fighting in it. And sometimes, I have to admit, I even confuse myself for brief moments. I'd love to say it's as simple as "Don't hate the player, hate the game". And to a degree it is exactly that simple.
It's just not that vague.
Twenty-five years, give or take a week, before last fall's historic election I stood in a room full of Your Name's and promised to defend my country and its Constitution with my very life if need be. I also swore to obey the lawful orders of the President and the officers appointed above me. And those troops on your TV screen in Iraq and Afghanistan? They took that same oath, every one of them. Even though it means leaving behind family, friends, and life as they know it with no guarantee that they'll ever return.
In those three years I spent in the army, the deadliest enemy I faced was Highway 190 on a small two-stroke Yamaha. That was partially due to good timing, good fortune. It was also largely due to the sacrifices of those who came before me. Those who came home with a flag for a blanket. Or those who didn't come home at all.
Whatever your stand on the war and the motives of those who started it, take a moment today to remember that the ones who have to carry out the mission didn't get to choose it. Given a choice, most of them would probably prefer to be barbecuing with the rest of us today.
Violence UnSilenced
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6 comments:

aguthrieimages said...

Hey,
thanks for this Mojo. It has been my stand since I was very young that no what this country is going through all of our men and women past present and future that serve their country deserve our respect and we should honor them.

Robin said...

Beautifully said.

Bryan said...

Great photo, and I fully agree. Many countries have mandatory military service, and we don't thanks to the many men and women who volunteer to serve our country.

Pouty Lips said...

I agree.

kcinnova said...

Poignantly said. As an Army wife, I appreciate your thoughtful post.

Carmi said...

You're a hero in more ways than I can say.

One phrase struck me particularly tightly between the eyes:

"I also swore to obey the lawful orders of the President and the officers appointed above me."

Key word: lawful. When the now-ex-prez and his moron posse lied to the country and to themselves to justify their adventure in Iraq, one may be forgiven for questioning the lawfulness of the order in the first place.

You're right on the money, as ever.