Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day

Monday a last-minute invite was extended my way to attend a BBQ with some country folks I haven't seen or spent time with in almost a year. Everyone at this little get-together was either active-duty military, in the reserves, or had been discharged. I think I was 1 of 3 who isn't serving in the armed forces, but I was for sure the only one there who wasn't tied to the military at all since I'm not a military girlfriend.

Before the steaks and potatoes were done, we all toasted Memorial Day, and everyone had the chance to speak their piece. Jack opened the toast, and thanked everyone for coming. He thanked the men and women who put their country ahead of themselves and for enlisting to protect their friends and family. Some other guys spoke up and there was a definite bond in the room during these individual speeches. A bond I'm well aware that I didn't share.

It was unique to be in the middle of the crowd, and yet also on the outside looking in.

Personally, I'm very thankful for these people and their sacrifices. Years ago I was faced with the opportunity to join the military, and I couldn't do it. After scoring pretty high on the ASVAB, the Army said they wanted to teach me Russian and put me in Special Ops. But I had a major issue with turning my life over to a faceless entity that I didn't trust.

I fully support the troops - I commend each man and woman for enduring the experiences they do, for sacrificing their will, personal time, and sometimes their lives to serve the greater good. However, I do NOT support the war. I believe that we were lead into this war by liars and those who are serving hidden agendas. The who's and how's and why's aren't really important, and pointing fingers never solves a problem. Isn't it enough to simply say "war is bad"?

Call me crazy, but I hope and pray for a world where we won't have war. I yearn for a time when we can all be adults, embrace our similarities & accept our differences, and respect every other life form on this planet by letting them live out their own existence.

Still, I'm fully aware that I have never traveled to the Middle East. I cannot begin to fathom what an ordinary day is like over there, for civilians and military alike. Therefore, I know to shoot off my mouth and my (probably uninformed) opinion is immature, foolish, and wrong.

At one point in the evening, I found myself in a deep conversation with a young intoxicated Marine. And I guess his girlfriend too? She kept coming over to throw her arms around him or state that she was his girlfriend, which kind of amused me, since I was only talking with the kid, and not humping his leg.

We found common ground on the no-war issue. He also thinks this war is a sham, but he told me that his opinion doesn't matter; he can't tell the higher-ups what to do, he just waits for orders. And yet, even though he didn't agree with the war and believes it was started under false pretenses, he absolutely cannot wait to get shipped out. Not to kill Iraqis or anything like that, but to help his comrades who are also forced into fighting someone else's fight. I admire that commitment to other human beings' life, and at the same time cannot fully understand blindly following orders.

Needless to say, I'm glad that I'm not thrust into the middle of such a conundrum.

My appreciation goes out to all the men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces, and my gratitude towards the goodness in humanity for keeping the hope of a world without war alive.

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