Saturday, October 06, 2007

A Death in the Family

I have always enjoyed Christopher Hitchens' writings. He wields the English language as a rapier in slashing apart weak thoughts and arguments. But this piece brought tears to my eyes.
Each of us may think that we are creatures of our own making as we stumble through life. Never realizing that what we might consider to be just a glancing blow at the most, leaves instead, an imprint of more magnitude than we had thought. The young man in the above link was just such a case. What he may not have appreciated, is that he has more than returned the favor to Hitchens.
The line that is quoted from his letters:

Anyone who knew me before I joined knows that I am quite aware and at times sympathetic to the arguments against the war in Iraq. If you think the only way a person could bring themselves to volunteer for this war is through sheer desperation or blind obedience then consider me the exception (though there are countless like me).… Consider that there are 19 year old soldiers from the Midwest who have never touched a college campus or a protest who have done more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights by placing themselves between Iraqi voting lines and homicidal religious fanatics.
(emphasis added.) touched me deeply, because, even after all these years, I know these men and women. Not these individuals, but their type. These people are the strength of our nation. They embody what is best in America. Which is probably why I get so ticked off when they are used and abused for political gain.

How many of us could say that at nineteen we were actually doing something for democracy and individual rights? And I mean this especially for those who seem to think promotion of a certain political agenda is the same thing. Don't insult these fine soldiers by equating that service with theirs.

Look at your own life, and see if you are worthy of those who serve. As I have said before, they serve without being servile.

God Bless each and every one of them.

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