Sunday, January 15, 2012

The price of freedom

I sat next to four gentleman in their 60s today.  They were loud talkers.

They were opining about the Marines in Afghanistan that appear to have made some unfortunate decisions.

Their conversation took them into a discussion of the mindset of today's American military.

They took a number of different views.

Some expressed empathy with soldiers dealing with incomprehensible difficulties.

Some considered all folks in the military to be dumbasses.

These were comfortable men.  Wealthy men.

None ever wore the cloth of the nation.

I could have just left them alone.

But, I didn't.  I couldn't. 

On my way past them, I offered them a thought.

Their conversation wasn't theoretical.  The people they were empathizing with or complaining about were real.  

I told them to keep talking.  But I wanted to remind them that they were talking about people as real as them, their kids, their neighbors.  I didn't disagree with them. I didn't agree with them.   I didn't have any answers.  I just wanted them to know there are very real Americans that are doing a very difficult job on their behalf out of love of country.

Three of them shook my hand and shook their heads in disbelief.

They said thank you.  They said, "I'm sorry."  They said they appreciated the reality check.

But one of them was different.

He ignored me.  He did not offer a handshake.  He blew me off.

And with his actions, he blew off all the folks that serve and protect our country at the behest of our Commanders in Chief.

I've come to accept him and those like him.  I don't understand him, but I don't have to.  It is his right to not give a damn.

I'm just glad that his type isn't the majority.  Yet.

I'm more proud of the people I know that are in harms way tonight to protect his point of view.

It isn't the fault of the military.  It is the fault of politicians.

When our country sends folks to war, they ought to do a better job of getting the citizenry to be supportive.

It is scary to think of our all volunteer military being at the beck and call of a politician without the support of the American people.  

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