Friday, May 22, 2009

Reality

It's hard to know what to make of "reality" television. I'll never believe people behave in front of cameras just as they would if no one was watching, taping, intruding. "Reality" t.v. is a fantastic distraction (as my last post clearly shows). But the truth is, it's not even close to reality.

I have a favor to ask. This Memorial Day weekend, as you enjoy activities with family and friends, could you please take some time to remember the reality of war? And I'm not talking about the politics of it all. I'm talking about something of far greater importance....the willingness of one human to sacrifice his/her life for another. If I could wish a dream of mine into reality, we would have no need for defense, no reason to send our men and women into harm's way. But not all wishes come true, do they?

I believe in God's word, the Bible. Through my scripture study, I have learned that true peace will come to this Earth only when Christ returns. The battles mortal men have fought for centuries will not be solved with weapons and armies. That's reality. But another part of reality is that we protect ourselves and those who are defenseless. We shouldn't allow innocent people to suffer at the hands of horrible dictators. We should offer protection from tyrants like Hitler. Offer the hope of freedom to those who are oppressed. Offer protection from those who thrive on enslaving their countrymen, if not with iron shackles, then with the figurative shackles of fear, hunger, poverty and lack of education. That is reality. I hate war. I wish that tyrants and genocidal maniacs could be "talked down". I wish we could help others without the price of pain or suffering. I wish that it could be done in a neat and tidy manner. But, that isn't the case. And I can't stomach thoughts of mankind sitting idly by while others are tormented and treated mercilessly.

I sincerely appreciate those who voluntarily serve their country. I admire their willingness to defend the defenseless. I am in awe of their ability to place others above themselves. It isn't my place to judge the reasons why a person joins the military. I am just thankful for the job they do. I'm disgusted by anyone who dares to cast stones at the men and women who serve this country so selflessly. These soldiers earned our respect the moment they signed up to do a job that most of us can't begin to fathom. Regardless of how you feel about war, the bottom line is, you can have an opinion about war because someone was willing to stand up for you.

Many people have forgotten what Memorial Day truly means. It's not about cook-outs and trips to the beach. It's not about the start of summer or a day off work. It's about the fact that we have opportunities to enjoy those things, thanks to the sacrifices of others. It's a day to show reverence and respect for those who have paid the ultimate price for us. We owe a debt of gratitude that can not be repaid. At the very least, we can take time this weekend to focus on reality, rather than the multitude of distractions posing as "reality".

19 comments:

jen said...

Lucky me. I get to be first to respond.
This concept never really hit home for me until the last year, when my sister-in-law and her four boys lived in our guesthouse while her husband served his second tour of duty, this time in Afghanistan. I watched as she struggled every day, raising four children with no support and no comfort for Greg's safety. I know his mission was dangerous--he interrogates prisoners. But the day-to-day toll that service wreaks on their families is equally as great.
As strange as it is to think of Greg as a "vet," I will always be grateful to him and to his family for his service to our country. Luckily, his family didn't have to pay the ultimate price active duty sometimes exacts.
There is a reason William Sherman declared, "War is hell." It's not easy for anyone directly involved. Just for those who unconsciously reap the benefits. Here's to no longer remaining unconscious.
Thanks, Greg. And thanks to the rest who so willingly serve both the conscious and unconscious alike.

SnarkyMama said...

Well said and you are absolutely correct...reality shows, etc., can indeed prove to be quite the distraction...fun, but distracting from the truths of the world.

Thucydides, the Greek Historian, whose text is studied at advanced military schools today once said the following:
"Be convinced that to be happy means to be free and that to be free means to be brave. Therefore, do not take lightly the perils of war."
"The secret of happiness is freedom, the secret of freedom is courage."

Thank you for reminding us all of the sacrifices that have been made so that we can enjoy each other's thoughts, laughter, and friendship without fear of retribution and persecution....

Thomas Paine said about freedom and war:
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it."

That means ALL of us who enjoy freedom's blessings daily must expect to feel the fatigue and weariness that comes, individually and collectively, by supporting those who commit to give their all, even their lives, to ensure we have those blessings, whether we agree or disagree at the moment. We cannot truly be free when others are oppressed.....

Thank you Captain, thank you Snarky and your troops, thank you Jen's family, and thank you to thousands and thousands of brave, courageous, and honorable men and women who have stepped up and fought for me, for my family, for my God, and my country....

Although he may be somewhat controversial to many, I love this quote:
"It is easy to take liberty for granted when you have never had it taken from you."....Dick Cheney

May God Bless America and May God Bless each of you....
Happy Memorial Day 2009

Dennis and Cherise said...

After Dennis returned from his first tour in Iraq, it was hard to not look at him and see the effects of war. He was not the same man that left me 12 months earlier. Dennis will tell you he may not agree with the politics that War brings (I hope I'm saying this right) But he has told me that he has seen the reasons why troops are there. During his first tour he had to do tower guard a lot, this involves sitting in a concrete box that out looks the outside of the camp and city it is near or in. Dennis has told me he will never forget when he saw a civil war break out in the town that their base bordered. The conflict in that town started with the enemy setting a mosque on fire.
Dennis has also paid a sacrifice with his health...he has PTSD from events that happened during his first tour. Along with that he has brain damage from being thrown around his building as bombs were going off around him.
You are right, this is true reality. Reality that in all truthfulness, I believe most of the population couldn't handle.

Reality is also sitting in a chapel watching a service for a soldier that gave the ultimate sacrifice. A soldier that you know worked with your husband day in and day out.

Thank You! Your wording was perfect!

Magic Brush said...

My father served in the Army and my brother just returned from his 3rd tout (once to Saudi, twice to Kuwait). Thanks for this post. You are a blessing.

caitsmom said...

Thinking of my uncle who died in Vietnam. His body was only partially shown during the viewing. I'm not sure he died for a "good" cause. I just don't know, but I do know that I'm grateful for his dedication and humbled by his sacrifice. Peace.

Carly said...

As always, a wonderfully written reminder, perfectly timed. I don't have anything add, but wanted to let you know that I will be concentrating my thoughts on more important things than barbequeing this Memorial Day. Thanks

Midwest Mommy said...

Great post and I loved reading all of these comments. I am remembering this weekend.

Sue said...

Hey, Natalie...Forgot to tell you that you are a winner in my blog giveaway! I think I lost your address, so send it to me again, okay? I will mail out the books Wednesday.

I was sorry that Snarky Mama wasn't one of the names I drew. She is so much fun, and a mother after my own heart.

=)

Sue said...

Strange..I had posted twice, but the initial post didn't show up...which is why I said that I "forgot" to tell you that you won the giveaway (in my second post). Oh well, clear as mud, right?

Anyway, the first post was too lengthy to hash over again...but the long and short of it is that I agree with you.

We spend way too much time making merry on our holidays and not enough time remembering why we have them in the first place. Not that I'm against fun, mind you...but it's incredibly sad to lose the "why" and the "what" in all of it.

=)

K2cole said...

Amen. I just am so grateful for those who are willing to do a tough job so well. I am an Air Force brat and am grateful to my Dad for his 20yrs in the military.

I am so proud of this post and with the comments made it will be a great Memorial Day.


Thank you

Michelle said...

Thank you for the reminder, Natalie. We are so, so blessed.

Amy said...

I have been thinking a lot about this topic recently. I had the great opportunity to see the traveling Viet Nam Memorial Wall tonight, and I always get so emotional and choked up over things like that. My little sister's husband just got back from 18 months in Afghanistan... just in time to celebrate his baby's first birthday. He wasn't there for the birth, but he is there now. Oh what wonderful brave men and women there are who are willing to give us a freedom we take for granted.

KC Mom said...

Thank you for the reminder. As we've been through chaos this past two weeks, one of the most touching moments I'll remember was the moment of silence offered during Chloe's graduation, on behalf of those who are fighting for our country.
We wouldn't have the blessings of these great days without the sacrifice of these great people. My step-brother is currently in Afghanistan.

Shauna said...

thank you for this beautiful post and the reminder that we all need to be grateful and show our gratitude for those who are/have served our country. I stand in awe of there sacrifice and am forever grateful.

Colby said...

Well said.

Laretha said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful post. I am getting ready to do one myself.

Hugs,
L

Fiauna said...

So well said, Snarky. While I have not been personally affected by the effects of war, I know, and respect, that the only reason I have the life and freedoms I have today is because someone volunteered to fight for me.

Leanna Tholl said...

Hi natalie, I love reading your blog and all the neat stuff on it. How did you get the button for mormon.org onto your blog? I'm a little new at the whole blog thing and i'm still firguiring things out. If you could tell me that would be great! my email is leannatholl@yahoo.com

karen said...

Love it. You're dead on, as usual. I have 2 nephews in the military: one is finishing up his second tour in Iraq, and the other just graduated from Anapolis. Two ends of the spectrum. Their willingness to serve always touches me, and through them I can put a face to the hundreds of men and women out there who likewise sacrifice so we can live free.