I have a real problem when someone asks if our soldiers haven't died in vain. They're not
really asking a question. They're stating their
opinion. Their deceit deserves to be hauled onto the mat and given a good pummeling. First, because as they blithely state their opinion, someone in that room might have lost a loved one to war. Second, for them, war is an intellectual exercise rife with politics mixed with righteousness and morality.
Let me turn this around.
Someone gets cancer. They go through treatment, they die.
Was that a waste? Was that in vain? Who would say this to his grieving widow, his friends or family members?
A kid walks to school. Gets hit by a bus and dies.
Would a person walk up to the parents and say, "Gee, I'm sorry you put so much time into loving him, into raising him. What a waste."
Pity the bastard who did.
Try this on:
A scholar with a distinguished career as a linguist gets Alzheimers.
Do you walk around saying, "If he was going to end this way, he shouldn't have gone to the bother of learning all those languages. What a waste."
The cynic with the shriveled heart just might. In fact, they might say all of the above. But those with a healthier state of mind have no buy-in to their warped and inflated sense of self.
The only real waste is if someone never takes a chance to do what they really want while they live.Soldiers know the risks,
and to an extent they're doing what they want.
My husband returned from Abad. Within 3 weeks, the higher ups phoned him and asked if he would go back in four months.*
I got this look on my face when he told me. Later that night, I asked our daughter
what she thought.
"I think he really wants to go," she said.
Even she knows this is what he wants to be doing.
It's no exaggeration to say, they fight for something much bigger than themselves, which are exhibited in ideas, not tangibles. Freedom, opportunity, fear from violence. What they fight for now, isn't something they'll know the results of for years --sometimes decades. Yet, they are making a dent in the world, one which others choose to ignore.
When they die, it's tragic. It's sad and has long lasting effects for everyone who loved them, and especially for the children who will never have their guiding hand.
But is it a waste? No, it isn't. And we who love and support them understand this and will never see eye-to-eye with the armchair critics who think this way.
*They decided it was too soon. But he'll be going back again.