Thursday, November 11, 2010

thank you, veterans

in the interest of full disclosure, let me start this way:

i hate war. 

i hate the idea of war.  i hate the word "war."  i hate thinking about or imagining or watching films or newsclips about war.  the very idea of two nations disagreeing enough to send their young men and women to go and try to kill the young men and women of the other nation is beyond staggering to me.  i am admittedly pretty comfortable in my own little corner of the world, with all my freedoms and luxuries and apparent entitlements.  so i acknowledge that it's pretty easy for me to hold that position. 

but when it comes to veteran's day, it's a different story.  all i have to do is imagine one lonely soldier, standing in a field in korea, or vietnam, or germany, or iraq or afghanistan.  all i have to do is imagine them standing there in camo, armed, maybe afraid.  all i have to do is imagine that human being standing in the midst of God's good creation, wrestling with all the uncertainties and yet feeling certain that something is worth protecting.  all i have to do is imagine you, dear veteran of war, and i am compelled to say thank you.

thank you.

thank you for saying yes.  thank you for facing your fears.  thank you for holding a gun for me.  thank you for putting yourself in a place where you had to send letters to your loved ones, and hope..pray..wait for a letter to return - a letter you surely held to your nose as you tried to absorb the home you were certainly fighting to protect.  thank you for those early mornings and those uncomfortable nights.  thank you for the countless mess hall meals and friday nights spent in foxholes.  thank you for facing the really difficult questions of life and death and protection and freedom that i don't usually have to think about.  thank you for your sacrifice.  thank you for being willing to face the ugliness of life, even though you would have probably rather stayed at home with your friends and family.  thank you.  on this day, at the very least, i realize that, though i'd rather not have to think about it, it is because of you and your willingness to sacrifice that i enjoy the life i lead today. 

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