Take time to think of our soldiers overseas

Gregory D. Cook, BC Student


Twelve years of unchanging news can callus even the most sensitive of well-meaning psyches. It was birthed as the iron fist of a wounded nation striking out in well-deserved vengeance, the very embodiment of biblical justice. The Great Eagle had been bruised and bloodied, but it was not down, and it swelled its chest with pride and sank its claws into its enemies.

We cheered when the banner read “Mission Accomplished.”

We danced in the streets when the symbolic head of our enemy was cast into the sea.

And now we forget as we feel we have won. We move on, fixated on the mundane challenges of our domestic lives, precious little concern left to dedicate to a conflict that has, in truth, not affected the lives of a vast majority of us, save those with friends or family members in harm’s way.

They live every day with what America has seemingly forgotten. They live within the confines of the phrase “conflict ongoing.”
As we complain that tomorrow is going to be a busy day, a soldier prepares too for a few hours of sleep on a dirt floor.

He sleeps in his uniform, because he will take his turn on watch in a few hours. He takes a few moments to write a few sentences of a letter to his family, being careful to make things seem better and safer than they really are because he doesn’t want his young son to worry.

He looks at a photo of his wife to make sure her face doesn’t fade from his memory, mutters “92 and a wake up,” under his breath and drifts off to sleep.
As we drive to work, irritated by the traffic, a Marine mans the machine-gun on top of his parked vehicle. The vehicle is not moving because a few yards up the road, what was once the lead vehicle is now a smoldering pile of twisted metal. Medics are loading a squad mate into a medical evac chopper, but the Marine can’t spare the time to worry about if his friend will live or die. He has to decide whether to pull the trigger and kill the child in his sights, a boy about the same age as his brother back home, who may be coming toward him to beg for candy, or to blow him up with a suicide vest.
And as we wonder how high the price of gas will get, an Air Force medic packs supplies and prepares to go to a schoolhouse in the Zormat District to set up a medical clinic for Afghan children. When her team gets there she finds that the schoolhouse has been burned to the ground, and the teachers have been executed, their bodies hung as a warning to anyone else with the idea of educating girls. She orders her team to set up the clinic next to the one remaining wall of the school, and hopes that the people won’t be too afraid to be helped. She hopes the people that burned down the school won’t return, and she hopes that one day she will be able to close her eyes and not still see what she sees today.
We need to remember that even if our individual lives are not changed by this war, our country’s life is.

We need to remember a time when America went to war, instead of just sending Americans to war. We need to remember that we cannot begin to imagine what our soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen are being asked to endure.
And we need to remember that the conflict is ongoing.
Gregory D. Cook

BC student