Where have all the heros gone?

Posted by on Apr 1, 2006 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

The heat has returned to Dallas. It’s been in the upper 80s for two days now. I feel a little sick from it all. I’m going to hate this summer.

So as to not stir up much body heat, I’ve been laying around this afternoon (after doing the dishes, laundry, Bible study homework and attending a marriage seminar) finishing up Band of Brothers for the third time. If you’ve never read the book, you really should. The mini-series is good too, but you miss out on so much if you don’t get the back story.

The men of Easy Company are completely amazing to me. It is such a terrible shame that the Greatest Generation is dying now. These are the people that made this country great, who came of age during the Depression, fought WWII without the knowledge of death camps before they jumped into Normandy but only the knowledge that others were being threatened and that something must be done, that lost legs and their minds but came home and took the hand up of the GI bill and drank deeply of the opportunities afforded them (The link takes you to a company built by a man from Easy).

A cruel dictator was killing people and taking land for no reason other than his own amusement and flex of power and Americans believed so powerfully in freedom that they lied about their ages to sign up. Naive? Yes, they were. Lusty for the battle and the world they would otherwise never know? Absolutely. But they went. They fought incredibly hard, not necessarily for the Army, which they almost all came to hate for it’s systems and bureaucracy, but for the men next to them in foxholes and for the freedom of those who needed liberation.

And what of our country today? The military has been missing recruitment goals, (although I believe, last month they did meet them) for quite a while. The media almost summarily refuses to report the positive steps made toward Iraq’s restoration. A friend of my family who is a civilian working in the Green Zone said she was much more afraid of Iraq while watching the evening news while on a vacation in the States than she ever was in country. All the couching and the slogans and the ridiculous politicizing of the war make my stomach knot as I think that this generation, my generation, will not take up the call that our grandparents so readily did.

Our generation faces something that is not so different. There was massive suffering under the former regime in Iraq. No one disputes that. Prior to the invasion and subsequent inspection of all sites in question, the entire UN believed Saddam to be harboring WMD, to such an extent that they issued resolution after resolution about the country’s violations. Of course they believed the government to be harboring weapons and severely mistreating its people, which of course, the mass graves have proved the latter and the former remains unanswered. It doesn’t take away the fact that the entire world believed this to be true and that the countries outside of the coalition simply disagreed about what to do with someone who is making weapons. Of course, in our overly politicized, media frenzied world the lack of hard evidence has been firmly nailed to the behind of the President (whom I do not support unilaterally, but whom I also believe should not be forced to find WMD as a proof that his orders were correct). Also, it will be interesting to see what information is actually uncovered now as we finally (and, what have we been waiting for?) begin translating the Iraq Papers. But, I digress.

I know the wars are not the same. I know the circumstances are vastly different. Please don’t post a word about WMD or some anti-democrat or anti-republican sentiment in the comments, because that will only make my point. My point is this…

When evil men do evil things and the world sits by and watches, more evil prevails. As the world is full of evil events, those who value peace and freedom must intervene on behalf of the weak and the victimized when the evil reaches a tipping point and when embargoes fail.

Why must we? What gives us the right?

Wrong questions.

Why wouldn’t we? What keeps us from liberating?

This is what I know. When my grandfathers learned that freedom was being snuffed out and people needed help, they volunteered. They got up and they left home and they fought like hell, not just so that those people, over there, somewhere far away might be free, but because they wanted us to be free too; you and me to live in a place that knows the sacrifice and to be people that give just as readily for the freedom of others.

Reading about all that they gave and knowing the fervor with which they fought, I fear we have failed them.

2 Comments

  1. Kim (and/or Jud),
    I think you need not you need not fear that we have failed the greatest generation, for the reason you stated: “the circumstances are vastly different.”

    Maybe history will share a different opinion of Iraq than the majority of Americans now have. However, regardless of how history may view the Iraq war versus WWII, I firmly believe that thinking the Iraq war is nowhere near as pivotal a turning point in history as WWII was. I guess only time will tell.

    At any rate, I think you need not fear, the circumstances are certainly different, and many former service men and women are questioning our motives in Iraq as well.

  2. Brandon – Thanks for the comment. I do know the circumstances are different, but I fear that most of the difference lies in the media coverage and not so much at the core of the issue…freedom, liberation and justice. As a military brat, I know that opinions about the government are all over the place among military personnel, which interestingly enough, has always been the case, even in WWII. I am hoping that we have not forgotten that the freedom of Iraqis is equal to that of Europeans and Jews. Teaching them how to properly govern themselves and how to curb the radicalism that has ruled them for generations will be a task that will take much time and much patience. I fear the public doesn’t have the stomach to see this through and continue to volunteer so that others might be free.

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