Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Do Not Forget.

There are approximately 63,000 American troops in Afghanistan, as part of an international force of greater than 100,000. As of today, 295 of those international troops have died since January 1, 2009. This is already more than died all of last year.

More troops have died in Afghanistan since March of this year than died there during the entire three-year period from 2001 to 2004.

Somehow, this has escaped the notice of the “Support the Troops, Oppose the War” crowd. They accused G.W. Bush of “genocide” during his terms, and protested with bloody hands and faces contorted in pretend-grief. Yet their vitriol has fallen strangely silent now. I’m certainly no apologist for G. W., but this doesn’t pass the smell test with me. “Hypocrites” doesn’t seem to quite capture it.

No, as usual it will fall to us to support, care for, pray for, and uplift the Soldier, the Sailor, the Airman, the Marine, to an all-sufficient God, trusting that He is able to protect those we love from danger.

Once again, we fight in silence. Without fanfare. Without help from well-funded political machines, nor desiring such help. The veterans. The wives and husbands. The mothers and fathers. The children. The America-lovers. The Liberty-protectors. The productive, the independent and self-sufficient.

Those of us who struggle in silence, neither seeking hand-outs nor demanding apologies; working to feed our families, and, it turns out, many others’ families as well. Once again, we will take time out before, after, or during our seemingly interminable toil to offer thanks for the opportunity to work an honest day, to beg mercy for ourselves and our families, to ask forgiveness for our shortcomings, and to offer a heartfelt prayer for men and women, many of whom we have never met and will never meet.

We will ship care packages as our mothers and fathers taught us to do, and as they learned from their mothers and fathers. We will send letters. We will pray prayers. This is our work as those who love what our country used to be and what, God willing, it will be again someday, when this madness is past.

We may shed a tear as we realize how blessed we are to spend our nights at home with our loved ones, and as we realize that there are 63,000 American heroes who have chosen to spend their nights away from theirs as their gift to a nation that can not, will not understand the nature of that sacrifice.

Finally, with tears rolling down our cheeks, the returning heroes, embraced by loving arms or by the flag they faithfully served, will be welcomed home. Without fanfare. Without vitriol. Without expectation.

And then, still silently, we will return to work as before.