In the last week I have given a lot of thought to what our soldiers are asked to do. I have reflected upon how young many of these kids are, wondering if they can comprehend the danger that they will face. I remember when my boys were in their teens; they were fearless. I think they believed they were beyond the reach of dire consequences. I am blessed to say that despite acts of whimsey and impertinence, they are unscathed.
Last week the safest harbor for soldiers was breached. The age span of the casualties
straddled 4 decades – 19 year old recruits to 50 something medical professionals. They were all in service to us. The betrayal was acute: by one of their own. The ripple effect of 13 deaths and 30 wounded soldiers will resonate for years within the armed forces.
My nephew is a first year student at West Point
. He chose this path to honor his grandfathers’ service in the Air Force and the Navy, and to be of service to the country his family thrives in. I am pretty sure he questioned his choice a few time during Cadet Basic Training this summer. I am just as sure that he lists completion as one of his proudest moments. After his education, he will be deployed for five years. Following this duty, he will have the opportunity to continue serving, or to return to civilian life.
This decision is a long time off. The Military Academy is rigorous, and the present is enough for Andrew to cope with. I worry about how the Fort Hood massacre impacts him, and all service people. It is essential that the mysteries surrounding this insane action be solved. Perhaps new protocols need to be instituted when someone’s expressions do not coalesce with military mores. I do not have answers, but the questions need to be resolved. Our soldiers deserve to have their sacred service honored. It is the least we can do.In honor of Veterans’ Day, I am hoping to add some “thank you” pieces here this week. I liked this one
from CNN. When my Dad died, he had an honor guard and a bugler. He was a modest man, and his army memorabilia never left a shoe box. I think he would have enjoyed the recognition. But he would have served with none.