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Who Asked Me? Dead But Not Forgotten

Who Asked Me?
DEAD BUT NOT FORGOTTEN


By Beverly Birch

    As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day, let us remember our veterans and their families.   On Monday, this country will celebrate Memorial Day.  As we prepare for cook-outs with family and friends, merchants are already raking in profits from Pre-Memorial Day sales.

     Let me see a show of hands!! How many of you are planning to cook out for the holiday?  Put your hands down.  Now, how many of you never cook out on holidays but carry your ‘luminum foil to someone else’s cookout, invited or uninvited?  I just knew the ‘luminum foil crowd would win.  Times are tough for everyone; so, if you are planning on coming my way, leave your foil, plastic bags and boxes home.  There will be no left over at my house.

    On a more serious note, today we pay tribute to brave men and women of the United States Military who gave their lives in the line of duty.  We recognize our men and women in the military for their courage and sacrifice made to protect the quality of life that we enjoy. 

    The successes and failures of war affect all of us.  We begin by thanking President Obama for sending in the Navy Seals to eliminate Osama Bin Laden, a national threat to the safety and well being of not only America but any country that shares her views. Americans can rest a little easier but shouldn’t get too comfortable.  We still have enemies out there.  Wars, right or wrong, affect even the unborn long after they are over—fathers and mothers die; grandfathers and grandmothers die; aunts and uncles die; and brothers and sisters die.  Ludwig von Mises said “war is harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror”.

    If you lived through the Viet Nam, Afghanistan and now the Iraqi wars, you have seen the tragic results when countries enter into war for the wrong reasons.  The question is does the benefit of war outweighs the lost.  Some families that lost loved ones in the Viet Nam war have also lost loved ones in the Iraq or Afghanistan war.

    As we approach Memorial Day, I am reminded of an article about Sam Reyes, a United States Marine, who had been severely injured September 2004 in the Iraqi war.   Sam is my reality of the ugly side of war.  It’s about the sacrifices of our brave men and women in the military that put their lives on the line everyday so we might live ours in peace. Sam was 19 years old at the time of his injuries by a roadside bomb.    Twelve Marines were killed during the incident.  Sam was left on the road holding on by a thread. Picture Sam lying there in the roadway with his arm ripped opened to the muscle, tongue sliced in half, face burned, severe back, stomach and head injuries.  Today, Sam has made tremendous gains but has a long way to go. Unfortunately, he will never be whole again.  Sam now suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury, known as TBI; TBI leaves the survivor “unable to perform basic cognitive functions”.  TBI affects more than 25% of the bombing survivors.  Soldiers experiencing TBI will have to receive treatment for life.  Depending on which part of the brain has been damaged, many of the survivors will experience psychological problems and anger--anger that can result in violent behavior to themselves and others.

    In war, it is difficult to accurately track how many Americans were wounded as of this date; however, the figures provided by Anti War.Com are alarming.  The survivors have lost limbs and for all intent and purpose have lost their minds.  It will be difficult for them to remember loved ones and things in their past.  The simplest problem will seem complex. Helping their children with homework will prove to be too stressful.  They will experience periods of darkness in their lives where nothing will make sense or no one will seem familiar. Each will relive the war over and over again for a life of trauma and nightmares.   It will be difficult remaining in long term relationships.  Some will even commit suicide because they can’t cope.  And, the list just goes on and on, confirming a lifetime of hell. 

    After reading many of the horror stories of war, I can no longer discount the gravity of war and what our soldiers go through each day to ensure democracy in America.  I find myself praying more and more for those nameless, faceless and uncompromising soldiers who put their lives on the line everyday at home and abroad.  These are young men and women who would like nothing more than to be home enjoying their families and friends but they can’t.  Someone has got to mind the home front and I thank those who do.  Even when I am inconvenienced at airports or security checks at office buildings, I complained like so many of you do.  I still can’t get used to the body scans.  Safety interventions have been costly to America in terms of dollars and lives.  I have become more tolerant of the inconveniences. 

    To the innumerable and unknown wounded and dead, we owe you a debt of gratitude.  Some wars are necessary and others are not.  To the decease soldiers, the choice was not yours to make but you went anyhow; you died and all that is left is a marker.  In time, memory fades but your contribution will live on just as long as democracy does.  So,   I celebrate pur veterans.  May you rest in peace!!! 


    AMERICA’S SOLDIERS,
DEAD BUT NOT FORGOTTEN ……………….
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