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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Red for Blood

When you’re in the field you wonder if the equipment you have will be enough when you need it. You wonder about ammo. You wonder if your weapon will hold up and if your body armor will work.

You wonder if you will be alive tomorrow.

But after a while, you know whom you like to work with – and you trust them. You also trust that people are looking out for your family and things back in the “World.” You expect your leadership really has your best interest at heart and that you will not be forgotten.

You hope, despite restrictive Rules of Engagement and the huge responsibilities heaped upon you, that it will be possible to fight and win, and that the cause you have been asked to champion is right and pure and true.

In a hospital room, here in the U.S. is a young man who has lost both legs. A lieutenant in the SEAL teams, his only comment after they put him through another run of surgery, was that he was happy the doc’s had evened things out so that his legs would both be the same length. In a town in Tennessee, a woman and her baby have been waiting nearly a year to get citizenship after her husband was killed in action because of a 57-year-old law requiring her to have consummated her marriage following her wedding date. It wasn't possible. Her fiancee was serving in Iraq, so they had to complete their marriage long-distance.

Now, no one will tell her when, if ever, she will get the permission to stay in the States and raise her child in the hometown of her husband – a Marine sergeant who died in 2008. Having his son raised in his hometown was his final wish. Congress is doing nothing about it. See the most recent stories on this website for more information on these folks.

So, instead of helping these people, our government has decided to spend time and money on shipping our President, his wife and others, overseas to wheel and deal, talking about getting the 2016 Olympics located in his hometown. Instead of focusing on doing the right thing, they are doing the comfortable thing.

In fact, while spending trillions of dollars, the government is making sure 26 members of the WWII Alaska National Guard remaining alive, have their due benefits removed. Those men defended our nation against a Japanese invasion, but the government has decided to take that couple-hundred dollars, a month in retirement pay, away from these people.

Meanwhile, in New York, we light the Empire State building in red to honor Communist China.

Where did we get so lost?

Operation Iraqi Freedom has seen 4,349 deaths – 3,473 of those killed in action. 17,642 were wounded and returned to duty and 13,872 were wounded but not returned. In Afghanistan there have been 844 deaths – 598 KIA. Afghanistan has seen 1,639 wounded and returned and 2,500 not returned. These are current figures.

Now some folks will look at those numbers and see just that – numbers. But a few will imagine men and women like the Lieutenant, in their hospital bed with a long rehab ahead and two fewer limbs. Some will say the leadership has more important things to do than take care of the citizenship papers of some young Marine’s widow and his son. After all, there’s the economy, health care, the Olympics, and so many other things to focus on. Certainly 26 WWII warriors, who because of their age, will soon be gone from this Earth, are not even remotely important.

Or are they?

I would suggest that these situations and others like them are the most important things we face. Because we are losing our sense of the personal and we are losing our humanity along with it. Civility is being discarded for expediency and truth is being sacrificed on the altar of the 24-hour news cycle, media bias and political and PR deflection.

Consider it. If our leadership can’t sign a simple set of citizenship papers for family of one of our Marines who gave his life in our service – if these same people can’t even take the time to discuss the requirements as stated by commanders in the field, then why are they in public office? If our government is happy to fund a twisted organization like Acorn – and others like them -to the tune of millions, perhaps billions of dollars, but feels like they need to steal the meager benefits left to WWII troops, something is radically skewed.

43 troops have died – more than one a day since the request for more troops was first ignored by our president. A baby and his mother are still waiting – eight months later to be given their citizenship. A former SEAL faces long rehabilitation and his family is struggling to pay the bills so they can stay close to the hospital.

And our President stumps for his pet projects while our Congressmen lie and cheat and steal.

And the Empire State Building is red.

Red for shame. Red for anger.

Red for blood.

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