Saturday, August 18, 2007

Remembering Our Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan


Today I'd like to reflect on the heroic job our soldiers are doing over in Iraq and Afghanistan, in a war every bit as nasty and endless as Vietnam. I'm a working class dog, so I know a lot of guys who are serving. Four of my buddies are getting ready to go over to Iraq for the third or forth time this fall. They each have wives and children and all are in their thirties. They do so uncomplainingly, whatever their personal feelings may be. All saw death of comrades in their other tours, so I'm sure that's on their minds.


I got an email from a good friend today that got me thinking hard. It had a photo of his grandson, who served in the First Gulf War, and who has suffered the effects of the chemicals of thousands of burning oil wells and who knows what else after Kuwait was liberated from Saddam. As a country, supporting the troops MUST mean more than slapping a two-dollar yellow ribbon magnet on the bumper our our cars. It must mean making sure our troops get the best care after they return, whether they have been infected with Agent Orange, lost their legs to a roadside bomb, or just need a little assistance getting their lives going again.


The New England Journal of Medicine has a photo essay on wounded vets that is so graphic that I will not reproduce any photos on this blog. However, if you care to see the types of hideous injuries our soldiers are suffering on a daily basis, mainly to explosive devices that they never even see or have a chance to defend themselves against, I highly recommend you go to this site: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/351/24/2476#F9


If it does not sober you and make you reflect on the price our troops are paying for us, then nothing will.


The Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review has an excellent graphics page on the war in Iraq, and a visit there is worth the trip. http://www.spokesmanreview.com/iraq/database/casualties_search.asp


Want to do something to help support our troops? Go to the Defense Department website for many suggestions. I personally write to several and send things that they need that they can't get over in Iraq or Afghanistan. Here is that site: http://www.usdamilitaryfamilies.org/html/help_our_troops.html


It's easy to forget what our men and women are doing over in Harm's Way from our cushy lifestyle here in the States. Let's all resolve to do more to support the troops--whatever we may feel about the war they are dutifully fighting.

2 comments:

Les said...

Last night, at the Pawtucket Red Sox game, during the 7th inning stretch, they played "God Bless America" as sung by Kate Smith. While it played, the crowd watched silently at the big screen as the faces and names of the fallen heroes were displayed. It was, of course, touching but one couldn't help but wonder: "Why?"

r morris said...

When I was younger, even up to five or six years ago, I did not cry. One old ball turret gunner, Frank Coleman, that I interviewed for my book told me one day, "You know, the older I get the weepier I get". He was as tough a man as I ever knew. And I've found he was right.
I find myself crying for those in Iraq, including the thousands of civilians who have been caught in the crossfire or killed by sectarian violence.
You know, the altnerative---not crying--is worse. It might mean we don't care, and my guess is, some people never give it a second thought on their way to their five dollar Latte.
We must never forget.