Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Independence Day

Sometimes I feel obligated to sit down and write about something, anything just to get it out and let go. It is a way of helping me deal with the stress and pressure of being here, doing what I do. I haven’t felt the urge to do that for several weeks. It’s not that things haven’t been happening, but quite simply, I haven’t felt motivated. Today however changed all that. Today, July 4th, 2007 – Independence Day – I felt the motivation I have been lacking.

This 4th of July will resonate deep within me for the rest of my life. Today is when what this day means has all come together for me. It is much more than the liberation from Great Britain that I am reminded of today. Today most of my family and friends are unreachable. All have gone to various celebrations, picnics, barbeques, or camp outs.

Today I sit alone, far from home in a land full of hatred and hostility; especially for America and all it stands for. Oh, my enemy is not without hospitality for they have been helping us celebrate in a similar redneck fashion. Back home, today would be busy drinking beer, hooting and hollering and shooting stuff up. Well, with the exception of the drinking, we are doing much of the same thing here. Like every other day since I’ve been here, I am forced to think about today on a much deeper level.

Ironically, I watched “Independence Day”. I have seen it a hundred times, but never saw it like I did today. When I watched it before, I saw pretty girls, fast action, cool space ships blowing stuff up and that little “Hell Yeah!” feeling at the end as the mother ship was destroyed.

This time though I saw a story behind the movie I never took time to notice. This time I saw America celebrating, families playing and people caught up in the day to day. Life is normal and good until bad guys come and throw us into war. I saw men and women of all race, color and creed stand up and volunteer to join the fight to preserve the way of life they love.

I saw soldiers sacrificing themselves to ensure victory against an overpowering enemy. I saw good people urging success in the fight and offering support in every way to ease the minds and hearts of the soldiers on the battlefield. I watched an amazing, triumphant victory as the enemy is crushed and defeated and everyone rejoices and takes time to honor those that fell in battle.

I saw this and envied those soldiers. For them, they fought honorably, with heart and defeated an enemy of the world and the world united and rejoiced. For my brothers and me it is not the same. We fight an enemy that is not as well defined. We fight in a war that many Americans do not support; a war many people around the world call unjustified and illegal.

The terrorists we fight are no less dangerous than the monsters from outer space, yet Americans are seen as the bad guys. For my brothers and me, I fear we will be rewarded the same fate as those from Vietnam. We fight in a war that will never be chalked up as a victory. Our enemy has been here for thousands of years and will be here for thousands more. Long after we are home, this war will be remembered as a failure; as the Vietnam of my era. The sacrifices of my brothers will be nothing more than a politicians tally mark to win votes.

As you celebrate our independence today, take a few moments to honor those who fought for it, respect those who fight for it today and admire those who will stand up in the faces of our adversaries and fight for it tomorrow!