The pain is still there

The death of an American soldier in combat is painful. The agony of loss is heart-wrenching. I’ve looked at the faces of the dead, those who were beside me talking only a few moments ago.

I’ve looked in the faces of their friends; for some, friends for years: through basic training, AIT, and a first assignment together. These are friends who were in pain. Their grief was visible. Sometimes is came out in anger, sometimes in laughter, sometimes in tears, sometimes in rigid features that could not express the pain.

I’ve looked in the faces of their family members: wives, parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts, and others. Sharing memories with them was an a privilege. Hearing their memories was an even greater privilege.

Those men weren’t angels, but they are heroes. Cut down in the prime of life, they gave it all. None of them awakened thinking it would be a good day to die. Instead, they simply performed their duty, a duty that led them into harm’s way. They fulfilled their sworn duty with the full measure of their lives; they gave it all so I might live in peace.

The pain is still there for the families and the buddies. Yes, my own pain is still there, too. In some sense, it is compounded by knowing that those families and friends bear the pain; I suppose this is a pastor’s calling–to grieve and to bear the grief of others.

If you don’t know someone who gave his life for this country, ask me. I’ll tell you about these honorable men. They were my friends.

In grateful memory of those men of my military flock who died fighting our nation’s enemies:

  • Elias Elias
  • Allen Jaynes
  • Michael Balsley
  • Alexander Fuller
  • Jay Martin
  • Alexander Funcheon
  • Brian Botello
  • Eric Snell
  • Mikeal Miller
  • Jason Fabrizi
  • Tyler Parten
  • Michael Scusa
  • Christopher Griffin
  • Stephan Mace
  • Brian Pedro
  • Nathan Carse
  • Alexander Povilaitis
  • Tristan Wade

Comfort their families and their brothers in arms.

How to talk to veterans about war

Wes Moore talks about his experiences in war and how to engage with veterans. He explains that the cliche “Thank you for your service” only addresses a small part of what a veteran has done, that a veteran’s service extends beyond a deployment.

Why veterans miss war

Sebastian Junger talks about why veterans miss war after they come home. His presentation provides profound insight every veteran’s family members and friends should hear.

George Patton

Patton Still Speaks

This article by Victor Davis Hanson, published in Hillsdale College‘s Imprimis, gives great pause for thought when evaluating our situation in the “war on terror.” Mr. Hanson reviews General George Patton’s approach to warfare and applies some of the general’s principles to our current endeavors.

I have to say that, though I don’t know a great deal about Gen. Patton, if Mr. Hanson’s portrayal is accurate, I’d have to agree with him. This is what I said about Afghanistan and this is what I’ve said about Iraq. If we want to get the job done, let’s do it and quit playing games. The political games are killing our fighting men and women. Why are we still dilly-dallying around in Afghanistan? Why haven’t we put much effort into destroying Osama ben Laden? Why are we still playing cat and mouse with the murderers in Fallujah, et al?

Until our political leaders have the resolve to do the right thing and get it done as soon as possible instead of play political popularity games, we’ll continue to lose. And, yes, I do believe we’re losing. Our soldiers and marines are giving their efforts, certainly. But, our political leaders aren’t. This is what happened in Vietnam. Yes, much has changed since then but, then again, much hasn’t. Instead of spitting on our soldiers, we should run our politicians out of town on rails.

No man deserves to be in public office who sacrifices the lives of Americans for the sake of political expediency. No, I don’t think most of our public officials went into this to play games. Yes, I do think they don’t have the guts to do the right thing–and, in the end, they won’t have the guts to see it through.

You don’t give a man who’s shooting at you time to reload before you incapacitate him. You don’t give terrorists a second chance to attack you on your own soil. Unfortunately, we’ve done that one already. Apparently, we still haven’t learned anything: one Trade Center attack, another Trade Center attack. Now, we’ve moved the fight to another piece of the planet (which is good) but we’re not willing pay the full cost; we’re not willing to sacrifice political safety for the sake of true liberty. Benjamin Franklin said that those who would sacrifice a little liberty for a little safety deserve neither.