Amazing Grace happens all day, every day, if we only have eyes to see.
From my Houston, Texas hotel room, sipping a cup of Folgers, my sister’s Facebook update shared this 38 second You Tube clip. It’s easy to think being away for a week is a big deal. In the grand scheme, it’s not, and this soldier’s homecoming with his Dog is proof.
Rarely watching TV, I was captivated the other night when Charlie Gibson was interviewing United States President, Barack Obama, on the ABC Evening News.
The one word that really made me put things into perspective, was a word the President Obama used to describe how the decision to send US troops to Afghanistan was different from other critical US policy decisions.
President Obama spoke of a certain level of sobriety that was needed on that particular decision. He said it was the one decision that was different from all the others. I paraphrase here, to illustrate the magnitude:
“Bailing out the auto industry or the financial system is one thing. But picturing Arlington Cemetery, with a mother, sitting in the rain, in front of a tombstone…..”
How long has it been since you’ve seen each other?, I asked, as they finished hugging in front of me, and they turned to leave. I was sitting at the gate, waiting, with my laptop fired up – but my mind running on fumes.
“Nine months”!, the soldier said, smiling.
I turned to the businessman sitting next to me and said, “I guess I’ll be okay if I don’t get home until tomorrow”.
We are sitting at the Minneapolis airport and have connecting flights. It’s looking like we will not depart on time. He has 35 minutes to connect in Atlanta. I have 55. We talked briefly about maybe not making it home until tomorrow.
As we talked about the impending delay, we both felt a bit of potential, and real, inconvenience.
Received an email from a good friend yesterday. No big deal there. Happens all the time right?
This one is different. It made me think. Deeply. And I can not disagree with this young soldier’s point of view. In fact, I think he has every right to call Americans callous. Seriously, I do.
And I’d like to extend my deepest regret for falling into the trap of conformity. Isaac, I’m very sorry.
Thank you for defending the blanket of freedom we Americans sleep under every night.
Here is the content of that email, without any editing from me. I do not know who originally sent it. And, in this crazy cyberworld we live in, I have no way of truly knowing if a soldier even wrote this. However, whether it was a soldier or not, I’m still touched by it’s relevance:
Date: Saturday, July 4, 2009, 5:37 PM
This is written by a young soldier serving his third tour of duty in Iraq. Thought you might find his take on the Michael Jackson news interesting and he’s right.
Okay, I need to rant.I was just watching the news, and I caught part of a report on Michael Jackson. As we all know, Jackson died the other day. He was an entertainer who performed for decades. He made millions, he spent millions, and he did a lot of things that make him a villian to many people. I understand that his death would affect a lot of people, and I respect those people who mourn his death, but that isn’t the point of my rant.Why is it that when ONE man dies, the whole of America loses their minds with grief. When a man dies whose only contribution to the country was to ENTERTAIN people, the Amercian people find the need to flock to a memorial in Hollywood, and even Congress sees the need to hold a “moment of silence” for his passing?Am I missing something here? ONE man dies, and all of a sudden he’s a freaking martyr because he entertained us for a few decades? What about all those SOLDIERS who have died to give us freedom? All those Soldiers who, knowing that they would be asked to fight in a war, still raised their hands and swore to defend the Constitution and the United States of America. Where is their moment of silence? Where are the people flocking to their graves or memorials and mourning over them because they made the ultimate sacrifice? Why is it when a Soldier dies, there are more people saying “good riddence,” and “thank God for IEDs?” When did this country become so calloused to the sacrifice of GOOD MEN and WOMEN, that they can arbitrarily blow off their deaths, and instead, throw themselves into mourning for a “Pop Icon?”
I think that if they are going to hold a moment of silence IN CONGRESS for Michael Jackson, they need to hold a moment of silence for every service member killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They need to PUBLICLY recognize every life that has been lost so that the American people can live their callous little lives in the luxury and freedom that WE, those that are living and those that have gone on, have provided for them. But, wait, that would take too much time, because there have been so many willing to make that sacrifice. After all, we will never make millions of dollars. We will never star in movies, or write hit songs that the world will listen too. We only shed our blood, sweat and tears so that people can enjoy what they have.
Sorry if I have offended, but I needed to say it. Remember these five words the next time you think of someone who is serving in the military.