By: Gabriela Yareliz
When I was young, I had a little bear that was dressed in a military uniform. I called him Lieu-teddy, short for lieutenant. My dad gave him to me when he was training to join the Air Force. I believed that if I squeezed him hard enough, my dad, out in training, would feel my hug. I blame Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess for this line of thinking.
The news coming out of Afghanistan in these past couple of weeks has weighed heavy on my heart. I won’t delve into the incompentence that has led us here. It would be filled with anger, and to be honest, tears. If you think this was the right way to do things, you clearly have not had anything on the line or been personally connected to these issues. I’ll focus on the human element for just a moment. That’s all I want to see. You see, my rage and sadness was purely focused on the young heroes lives sacrificed and their grieving families.
This country has a deep-rooted problem in the level of disrespect and contempt many have for the military and police, quite frankly. In many ways, we have lost respect for the concepts of duty, freedom, honor, and sacrifice. We, for some reason, can’t deal with the nuance of life. My family was a military family during 9/11. I’ll never forget what that time did to this country and to our lives on the base. I’ll never forget how so many classmates had to say goodbye to one parent and sometimes, both.
I’ll never forget the friends in my high school ROTC program; my friend Christina’s Senior Project to make boxes of needs and goodies for the military and her beautiful wedding at the First Baptist Church, her young husband in uniform; and friends who enlisted after graduation.
I offer my condolences to the families and veterans who are grieving. Many of us have grieved at the news of your loss and will continue to do so. And to those who have suffered any loss or sacrificed anything in these past 20 years– we will not forget the heroism of all that was given. As painful as it is to just look at the now, it’s painful to look at all of it. To hold all of it, collectively. To know so many lives have been impacted. To know so many lives have been given on our behalf. To know so many lives have been spared due to brave men and women. We hold this grief and gratitude together.
“All gave some, and some gave all.”