jb, thanks for so eloquently beginning this thread. Thank you also for casting a larger than usual canvas on the topic of gratefulness to others who serve in quiet, daily personal yet professional ways that maintain, improve or protect our lives.
I am moved by each of the subsequent entries of the other WNPeers. Perhaps this string should be dipped in WNP bronze and polished every last weekend of each May.
If you are up for it occasionally check out the postings of servicemen & woman at The Sandbox http://gocomics.typepad.com/the_sandbox/
I’m not referring to the sand dunes of yore prior to Henry Doelger et all. This is a forum for “command-wide milblog, featuring comments, anecdotes, and observations from service members currently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.”
You won’t necessarily agree with everything you read but stepping into the reality of those who post here should be a citizen’s duty. In past wars we waited for the books by Crane, Tregaskis, Hersey, or Herr to report about warfare. Or we waited for the ‘big picture’ to be assembled then projected on the large or small screens in our lives to gain a narrative of warfare. The World Wide Web allows combatants and service personnel to share it with a readership in near realtime. Their stuff is raw. They are writing in first person, contributing the first draft of accounts from the war from the perspective of the “boots on the ground”.
Whether you agree with the point of view of cartoonist Gary Trudeau creator of ‘Doonesbury’ or not he has been about the only consistent ‘journalist’ in the public press who keeps reminding his readership that less than the 2% of the U.S. population serves in harms way.
There is a distinct unfairness about separation of the public from obligations of sacrifice and service to community and country. The veterans and their families of these last 8 years of endless, asymmetrical warfare have assumed that burden. The citizens of our nation as whole, beyond inheriting an insane debt of spent treasure, has by and large not sacrificed much if at all. I ponder this often beyond just Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day.