The war had been declared over in Iraq. After 9 long years, the troops are withdrawing and coming home. This is a welcomed holiday gift for the service men and women, and their loved ones. Close to 4,500 died, and 30,000 were injured in a country most cannot even locate on a map. A place so far that it doesn’t come to mind every day. A country so different from our own that it is difficult to completely understand what are young people were sent to fight for. There are similarities of horror and fear for all those who fight in a war. The difference this time around is that we have no excuse in understanding and helping the veterans who have sacrificed so much.
We send off our young at a time when they are just starting to find their way in life. Some have just finished school, others are newly married, or have young children. All leave behind family, friends, and a hometown to worry about their safety and well-being. What we can’t imagine or fully comprehend, is what these brave young people saw and dealt with on a day-to-day basis. The horrors of war do not leave a person when they come home. My mother’s uncle was a World War II veteran. Anytime you saw him, a story about his time in the war came up. Some came home to a hero’s parade. Being from a small town, that didn’t happen for him. There were no programs to assist returning soldiers and jobs had to be found. Nothing was handed to them.
The veterans of Vietnam came home to a hostile and indifferent nation. It took way too much time to recognize the service of these soldiers. Many of the returning Iraqi war veterans are starting to utter the same feelings and concerns. Have we not learned anything from out past? Regardless of how any individual feels about a war, respect for the commitment and promise these individuals made for our country should be offered. It takes a special human being to confront danger on a daily basis. The least we can do is honor the oath they took to defend and protect the freedom we so enjoy. So, whenever you see or hear that someone has served our country, no matter what war, let them know that we stand behind them and will continue to offer support for as long as they live. Money was available to fight the war, money should be available to support its veterans. In addition, the validation of a job well-done needs to be expressed repeatedly. In America, it is right thing to do.