"The gifts arrived today," his voice was excited but he was trying to make it not seem so. "We put them all under the tree - I'm not letting them open them until Christmas."
"That's mean," I told him, laughing because of how cute I thought that actually was. "How 'bout Christmas Eve?"
"No. Christmas." he said firmly. "Well, maybe. We'll see."
The high school where my sister teaches donated amazing gifts to C and his soldiers. I am so incredibly excited and amazed at how these kids pulled together for these guys. Anytime a person, an organization, a school comes forward asking to help our soldiers it gives the greatest joy. Not just because of what they give - anything would be appreciated - but simply because they are giving. It is the act of kindness - the recognition of the sacrifice - that brings with it such re-affirming hope that people do understand what is taking place.
I promised one of my dearest friends that I would take a small break from this blog. Our lives are fairly busy at the moment and she has fallen behind on reading. People approach her asking about it and she would not have read what they had yet. But right now I am breaking that promise, because something (and I won't say exactly what) has gotten me fired up. People need to get their heads screwed on a lil' bit tighter for a moment - and I think I need to help.
I watched a video on the internet where Brit's were interviewing Americans and they asked a few simple questions. I am not going to go into all of them because I could talk for hours but the main question that people couldn't seem to get was "When was 9/11?" And so many people couldn't get the year, but MANY people couldn't get the MONTH. Are you kidding me?! 9/11. What has happened to this country?
I have said repeatedly that this is not like the wars of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers. This is not the same world. The threat is different, the enemy is different, the strategy is different. But the understanding of our military is also different. The very idea of patriotism seems almost non-existent. The thought of sacrifice seems to be more shunned than honored by the majority of Americans. When did this happen? When did we become a nation that can't remember the most horrific day in most of our lives?
Our soldiers sacrifice - their families sacrifice. And to say that is not a shameful thing. It is a very true statement, it is an honorable living, it is a proud life. I have also said repeatedly that it seems to me that the media and many political figures speak of this war like it was forced on them. I recognize that they did not choose to enter into this war but they did choose to fight in it. They chose the sacrifice. By choosing to love a soldier, we also choose the sacrifice.
I do not think that anyone would disagree that we live in an incredibly selfish society. This must be why this whole concept of serving one's country must seem so "forced-on-them" by some people. This self-indulgent culture must be why so many people view this career as "unfortunate." The "Why would anyone choose this?" way of thinking.
Someone has to choose this. Someone has to be willing. Someone must see the same thing that those that came before him or her have seen. That this nation has been built on the blood. That every roadway, and building, and home has been built on the backs of those protected by the men and women who join arms and shield this nation from everything outside of it. And maybe that is the problem - we are too sheltered, too safe. We have known a "good life" for so long that we cannot understand what would happen without these soldiers.
What would happen if they all suddenly didn't "go into work"? If they all suddenly decided not to do their job? If they all suddenly decided that "someone else can do it"? What would happen to this nation?
We would lose it.
Not in a year, not in a month, not in a week. That day. This nation would crumble to its feet, this nation would lose it safety, this nation would lie in ruin that day.
Why is this sacrifice shameful? Why is this sacrifice unfortunate? Why is being selfless so difficult to respect?
These men and women will secure your today, your tonight, your tomorrow. And when I say secure, I mean literally protect your life - your natural obliviousness to the possibility of terror - because they will choose the sacrifice.
Not just because someone "has to" - but because "someone" should.
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown
"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.