Monday, May 26, 2014

A Simple Memorial Day Ponder

Of the significant conflicts of this century for the USA, 2014 finds Iraq well in the rear view mirror, and Afghanistan has us focused on getting out come what may.

As I've outlined before, Afghanistan was the conflict I was focused on for most of my last eight years on active duty, in one role or another. Just by circumstances, Iraq was someone's else's job.

I would ask your indulgence this Memorial Day; I would just like to focus on those who gave their lives in that little corner of our recent history since 2001.

One thing I have noticed, especially in the last five years, is that on the whole Americans just don't care anymore. Even on a blog like this where readers have a predisposition to understand things military - in case you never noticed - people aren't all that interested.

When I've published on the topic of AFG either via some quick observations and other posts I spent days putting together - the interest by the public simply is not there. I can look at the links, posts, and reads - and it is obvious. Posts on either side of an AFG related post - be it about shipbuilding or Colombian women - that is where the comments, re-reads, and links go. I guess that is expected and really, not surprising.

Nothing bad on the reader, it just is what it is. Today though is not for another review of what is really a lost cause. For goodness sake, after a dozen+ years fighting trying to pull that retched nation and its suffering people in to the 19th Century - our President has to sneak in at night and the AFG President won't even come by to say, "Hi!" - and in an area awash with the world's only superpower's weapons - our CINC cannot safely make the trip to him. Bad manners on both parties. Speaks for itself.

Today, I think of those I served with who did not come home. Some I knew only by name, others I just spent days absorbing O2 with waiting for a flight in or out. Some I just flew over, or drove by.

All of them went to AFG for one reason, they had orders to go. They signed up to serve their nation and do what its leaders thought needed to be done - and they did it. They did their duty, and they did not come home alive as a result.

History yet written will tell the story of what they gave their life for - especially in the last few years that has become an open question - but we know already. They gave their life for those they served with. Those they led, those whose computer systems they kept working, whose FOB they kept supplied, whose platoon needed someone on point. They served more or less the reason we all did - they had a mission, and they had people to do it with. The mission and your people.

In an environment where the very top of the leadership refuses to offer you anything else, mission and the people to your left and right - that is more than enough for them. That should also be enough for us to honor those men and women who nodded their head, and moved forward to the sound of gunfire.

I know there are 2,312 men and women there, I'm not asking you to visit each one, but MilitaryTimes has a very well done and respectful site that outlines those who died in OEF. Take a moment, pick a random page, and get to know their faces if only for a moment.

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