Saturday, May 20, 2006

Defiling a Gift So Precious

Yesterday I was going through a bunch of my army gear trying to sort what I would and would not need this next year. Some of the stuff I have not used since my first deployment to Afghanistan four years ago. I found the article below scrawled into a notebook. I cannot remember exactly when I wrote it but I feel it’s a powerful article so I’m sharing it with you.
All too frequently the price of our freedom is the blood of your youth and, in our military today, the very best that we have are the first to be called upon.

What we do not appreciate is the value of that freedom. we enjoy our opulence in a society where our very poorest live in comfort and leisure beyond the imagination of the majority of the worlds population. To help you appreciate our freedoms and wealth, I wish you could have been with me on the streets of Uganda to watch a polio stricken young woman hand pedal a tricycle/wheelchair more than a mile to enjoy her new found liberty of attending a Christian church. Or if you could have been with me while an army special Forces medic operated an aid station near a Congolese village that administered aid and comfort to hundreds in a single day which would likely be the best medical treatment they would ever receive.

We are fortunate that the fighting for our freedom has been paid in distant lands. No enemy had freely walked on our land in almost 190 years. But, the vast majority of the price is still paid within the walls of many homes. It is paid in the memories of our servicemen of friends that are no longer with us and often represented by an upturned chair at a lonely place setting during a regimental dinner. It is paid in the hearts of families torn apart with separation and occasionally death. By children who will grow old without a parent.

Far too often we cheaply copy the pain that comes from the price of freedom with our own foolishness. We tear our heats and families apart because we use divorce as a personal convenience. And, we throw our own freedoms away when we become dependant on a government handout.

As a soldier I have had friends gravely injured and some have died standing between your home and wars desolation. I beg you to please respect their sacrifice by improving that for which they fought. Do not take offense over those minor issues from a friend, neighbor, or spouse and make a concerted effort to contribute something more to our great society.

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