Posted: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 10:47:25 PM
Every New Year, we take providential joy in what has passed, and refill ourselves with a new hopefulness despite the burdens of previous experience.
Today, the focus is about the end of the Iraq War—the homecoming of soldiers that marks the conclusion of almost a decade of onerous commitment. America welcomes them back with praise, but this is also surrounded by controversy—about lives, cost, and purpose, and doubts about the future of Iraq: the prospect of its people, the future of the war against terrorism as it is fought around the globe. This transition represents a major landmark not only for the U.S., but a landmark in world history: the struggle with terrorism, relating to the struggles against communism and despotic regimes of the last World War. They all ended with victories, as much as costs—costs that can never be fully ascertained—but that fear is overridden in the reassurance that things do end in peace, and lived through despite the burden.
But there is something else that weaves underneath the current of mayhem—that is, the service of the military. Generational conflicts have redefined the society we inhabit, and we cannot be more appreciative or cognizant of their extraordinary contributions. Everyone is not a veteran of war, but everybody is a veteran of their experiences, and a beneficiary of their contributions. We can never pay enough respect towards the people of the military—uniformed or ununiformed; battlefield or intelligence office. There is no payment towards the risk or sacrifice that matches the respectability of their purpose—for world, for history, and for country—yet their tenacity gives a nation more value than the citizenry can realize…remembrance is forever.
That is why, in this month of giving, we should be dedicated to honoring military personnel—especially when the arguments against the blood of their efforts is so loud and so pervasive. We should remind them, and ourselves, that the merits of this one conflict can never deny them our outstanding respect. Their accomplishments, past and present, cannot be derailed by statements made in speech or the press. We can leave no doubt to them about their importance, and assert that our criticism arises for the sake of their welfare and their welfare only. The message of honoring the troops can be spread in many ways, freed of confusion: it is their service that matters. Just as in a “good war” we cannot forget those who perished; the unpopularity of a mission shall not warrant overblowing the costs, to negligence of the ones who have paid a positive duty. As such, the American Legion is the most crucial organization in availing service towards the troops, demonstrated by outreach to troops and families, the support of hospitals, and their watchfulness in Congress to soldiers’ welfare, whether in action or not. Forasmuch as it is the season of giving, remembrance, and respect, it would be excellent to set aside the month of December for the special promotion of their service.