What the Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers are Missing

Every now and then I’m compelled to depart from my usual focus of this blog – caregiving – to share what lies in my heart regarding other issues I find vital to life as we know it.

Honoring the military is one of those issues.

(c) U.S. Army

(c) U.S. Army

When I read about the Wisconsin Army National Guard soldiers who posed for a photo around a flag-draped casket while smiling, goofing off, and generally thinking they were a real gas – and then posted the image across social media channels – I knew I could not stay silent.

What may strike you as odd is that this disgusting display of disrespect called to mind one of my favorite movies: Collateral. Jamie Foxx plays a cab driver, Max, caught in a night of turmoil with Tom Cruise’s ruthless contract killer, Vincent. Max is pretty introspective, not to mention a kind, moral individual, so he’s repulsed by Vincent’s lack of respect for human life. At one point, Max says to Vincent:

“The standard parts that are supposed to be there in people, in you…aren’t.”

Bingo, Max. And you can say the same thing about the Wisconsin Army National Guard soldiers who so blatantly dishonored every fallen soldier in the history of this country along with their grieving families.

Here are a couple of “standard parts that are supposed to be there in people” that it seems the Wisconsin National Guard soldiers are missing:

  • A solemn respect for the dead.
  • Deep honor and gratitude for the military.
  • Compassion for the grieving.
  • An awareness of how one’s actions might affect others.

Whether those standard parts were there once and somehow disappeared, or whether they were never present in these individuals to begin with is a spiritual, psychological, and philosophical discussion for another day. But here’s what I’d like to say to those who participated in this abhorrent activity:

I am sickened and saddened by your actions. And yet, I will pray for you. Why? Because I believe that there is still a chance for you to realize the gravity of your mistake, to repent, and to open up your heart to a better way of living. May you learn from this experience in a profound way.

As sad as this event makes me, I feel a sense of hope that there is still time for you to cultivate those “standard parts” of human beings that God makes available to all of us.

In the spirit of Max, I have faith.

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