Living in the Past: As I’ve already shared, I was in the US Army during the 1960’s. One of the things I wondered about when I was away from home was whether the folks back home knew what I was going through for them.
We had to endure early morning drills, shouting drill sergeants, low-crawling in the mud under live rounds from an M-60 machine gun, finding North Korean literature outside our barracks, and being stationed in a foreign land for the holidays. I wondered if the folks back home appreciated what we were going through for them.
Right now our armed forces are still involved in Afghanistan, the longest war in US history where they are experiencing many firsts: “This includes participating in the longest war in our history, fighting with an “all volunteer” force, and in many cases, soldiers deploying multiple times. The days of battles fought over a line on a map have passed, giving way to a 360-degree/fourth-dimensional battlefield.” (AnnArbor.com November 13, 2011) I would be willing to bet that many if not all of those service men and women have wondered from time to time whether we appreciate what they are going through for us.
From my experience I can tell you the hardest part of the experience is being away from family for holidays at this special time of the year. You miss their faces, the warmth of being together with loved ones while you are in this cold place (for me it was Korea only twelve miles from the DMZ).
It was because of this experience that I came up with the slogan (S)support (O)our (S) service men and women to remind everyone here at home to send a message of love and support to those service men and women who are sacrificing their holidays for us. Where I lived in New York, we started an organization of people which cut across political divides whose focus was collecting and mailing packages that told those men and women they were not forgotten and we did appreciate their sacrifices on our behalf.
Even though the War in Afghanistan is our longest, it should not dampen our resolve to let them know again and again we greatly appreciate all our armed force personnel. Is there a service man or woman you know to whom you could support in some way this holiday season? Let’s not forget them.