Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Face of Courage

The world is a-buzz over the take-out of Osama Bin Laden. A man who perpetrated grave injustice is finally dead. Questions arise about the actual assignation, the military manuevers, the hide-out, the people who secured the compound where this most-wanted, dead or alive, man lived. The fact that he had women, wives and children, around him offers proof that he expected others to do his dirty deeds while he lived the life of a noble and free man. The irony, the inquistion, the illusion will fill newspapers and television for weeks to come. For most writers, for inquisitive minds, many questions are yet to be answered.

The story I'd like to write is a more personal one. I don't want to hear about the politics behind the decision to kill Bin Laden. God forbide, if we repeat those stories, it will only advance the career of a fallow politician who would gladly take credit for the heroic acts of courageous men.

I want to write about brave soldiers who ignored the evil face of danger and risked their lives for the good of their country. I don't need to repeat the name of the soldier who took the final shot and killed a rogue, conscienceless individual who thrived on killing Americans. I expect this brave, dedicated soldier will remain anonymous so he can walk free in this vast world. But I'd like to write about him, his peers, his fellow soldiers and the heart that makes a committment to serve with dignity and pride. I'd like to tell others about their wives and children, their dreams for the future, their plans for a Christmas at home. I'd like to tell the world these courageous individuals will never have to worry about health insurance, funds for a college education for themself or their family. I'd like them to be rewarded by our forever grateful citizens for their good deeds and not fall victim to political rhetoric.

When they come home, will the price of gas, unemployment, arguments over the freedom to bare arms or express their religous beliefs overshadow the fact they went beyond the call of duty to protect the rights of everyone? Will the feckless politicians who so readily stand in front of the cameras and proclaim 'America prevails', vote to restrict the freedoms and rights these fearless soldiers hold dear to their hearts? Will politicians continue to argue over the defense budget, continue to restrict or deny public prayers that carried those brave souls into the night? Will they de-fund patriotic programs that served us all so well during these tumultous, terrorist times?

I'm afraid they will.

The Faces of Courage, young soldiers who risked their lives, nameless heroes, will not not stand before cameras and petition elected officials to support their cause. And they will not be granted plush offices, extended insurance benefits, staff privileges, expenses for luxury travel. Nor will they vote themselves an increase in pay. God willing, they will return to their families, to their communities, to their friends and neighbors and enjoy a good night's sleep. A job well done. A free heart.

Or will they blend into uncertainty? The unemployment line? The high-risk insurance pool?

I'm afraid they will.

Too many politicians do not believe our soldiers, our heroes, should have the same benefits they receive. And that is good reason to write about real heros. A personal story, a very personal sacrafice. Men and women who put their lives on the line, for our well being and safety, should receive a life time of health insurance, secured employment benefits, the same reward every congressional member is granted for less risk, less investment, less time. Is rhetoric more valuable than deed? Is duty defined by the number of votes one receives? A soldier sacrafices all and yet is expected to remain faceless in the battle for freedom.

Let's make sure politicians who take minimal risk and receive many rewards, do not take the glory for those who give all and expect little in return.

But I'm afraid they will. That's a good reason to write.


Patricia said...

Your closing paragraph was well said, and said it all. I like the thought and the challenge for us all.

Thanks for writing.

Pat Harrington
Now out: Winter's Soul and coming
Antiguan Redemption, Museitup Publishing

Marni said...

I agree; the heroes need to be celebrated. Just read July Spencer-Fleming's newest "One Was a Soldier" to see the effects serving your country can leave behind (and a great mystery in this series to boot!)

Marni Graff
The Blue Virgin
Bridle Path Press