Yesterday the Washington Post had this story concerning soldiers returning from Iraq.
After three years, there are at least 550,000 veterans of the Iraq war. The Washington Post interviewed 100 of them — many of whom were still in the service, others who weren’t — to hear about what their war was like and how the transition home has been.
Their answers were as varied as their experiences. But a constant theme through the interviews was that the American public is largely unaffected by the war, and, despite round-the-clock television and Internet exposure, doesn’t understand what it’s like.
…….the article ended with this:
But perhaps the worst is when they don’t say anything at all and just go on living their lives, oblivious to the war.
Which is exactly what Army Capt. Tyler McIntyre was trying to explain to some family members while eating at an Italian restaurant when he was home on leave a couple of years ago.
He looked across the restaurant and saw everyone stuffing their faces with pasta and drinking wine. “And everyone’s kind of just sitting there doing it,” he said.
Which is really sort of extraordinary, he said. The country is at war. People are fighting at this very moment. Don’t these people know what’s going on? Don’t they care?
No, he decided. They have no appreciation for their easy, gluttonous lives and don’t deserve the freedom, prosperity and contentment he was fighting to protect.
He wanted to yell, “You don’t know what you have! You don’t appreciate it! You don’t care!”
For those of you who are soldiers out there, we DO care!!! Yes we are going about our normal boring, non war lives day after day but only because we can – thanks to you. We know that. We really do. Just like going to visit a friend at the hospital, we don’t know what to say or how to say it so we may not say anything or even something stupid but we are grateful to you. We will never understand what you went through. You’ve been there…, we watch TV. But you are in our prayers every single day. We buy you drinks when we see you. We anonymously comp your meals when you’re in in uniform. We write you strange letters. We blog. Please don’t feel like we don’t care. I don’t know anyone, left or right, who doesn’t care.