web counter Media Lies: Reality sinks in

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

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Reality sinks in

Steven Vincent talks about his book tour (for In the Red Zone) and confides in his readers that recent events have made him realize "this is the real deal. This is war." I hope and pray that many more Americans are coming to that realization, as more of our brave servicemen and women pay the ultimate sacrifice.
No, rather I think of World War II. Of course, the country mobilized far more citizens then, at a greater cost in blood and treasure. Today, however, we see thousands of National Guardsmen whom the conflict has plucked from daily life and hurled into a combat zone, leaving behind holes in the social and emotional fabric of American communities. If only for this reason we cannot, like Vietnam, ignore or forget our soldiers; their safety worries us each time we turn on the news. And the large number of families affected by the conflict reminds us that GIs are not anonymous figures on TV screens or abstract numbers on a casualty list, but sons and daughters and spouses taken from the heart of our nation to obscure and dangerous battlefields.
Yes, we worry constantly. And every loss gets harder to bear. Only the alternative keeps us from withdrawing.

As Vincent says, especially at this time of year, we should be cognizant of the sacrifice being made on our behalf.
This Christmas season, as holiday lights blaze from the eaves and doorways of American houses, they are joined by smaller, more somber lights in darkened windows, burning for men and women who will not return from Iraq. Relative to other wars, there are not many of these memorials, and God willing, may it remain so. But this should not diminish the enormity of events. America is engaged in a struggle whose goals are uncertain, even as its demands increase upon communities large and small. For each family from whose windows the candles shine, payment has been high. Whether we agree with this conflict or not, let us remember, and thank these people, for their sacrifice. For them--for us--this is war. This is the real deal.
May God bless every family who has suffered loss, and may their loss not be in vain.