10 June 2007

Thoughts on the "Remember Me" Video

Video Link – “Remember Me” (It's worth a watch...about 5 minutes long.)

I had to think a bit before I posted this link and my thoughts about the video at the other end of it. It’s not that I think the video is anything but touching. It raises so many emotions, many of them conflicting. And that, really, is why I debated posting it.

Very strong emotions can skew how we think about a subject, sometimes quite negatively. However, not addressing a subject simply for the reason that it evokes strong emotions is not an answer; it’s a side-step.

I think the “Remember Me” video addresses one of the fundamentals that is easily lost or overlooked in war and that is, regardless of the larger reasons of why we fight, projected end-states and such, war is a human endeavor. The men and women fighting (and providing vital support to those fighting) are brothers, sisters, etc, to folks at home. Their sacrifice is both readily acknowledged and easily overlooked by the vast majority of folks who have not been asked to sacrifice a single thing during the beginnings of this war.

It’s been nearly six years since 9-11, the economy is humming along quite nicely, unemployment remains very low, and even gas prices are fairly stable. Americans were encouraged to go about business as usual after 9-11, and remarkably, we have been able to. This is considered a battle won on the home front.

But if that battle has been won, one unintended consequence has been to alienate the population in general to the sacrifices of military personnel. By not asking Americans to sacrifice a thing in the last six years, it has become increasingly easy to hold the war at a distance, to give it an otherworldly sense, to see it as something happening to others and not a cause to be fought by the whole public.

These feelings are compounded by the shrill voices of those who blast the war, for all of their collected reasons, and who seek to divide and withdraw as they see fit. No sacrifice is worth it for them, and their voice is loud and persistent.

But truly, sacrifice is worth it. And by that, I mean personally chosen sacrifice. An important question, I think, to ask ourselves is: what we are willing to do to remain free? We cannot simply “honor” those serving, though honoring them is important. We cannot simply live without sacrifice and expect the outside world to become a safer, more secure world.

I don’t want to slip into rampant idealism, which has its own unforeseen consequences. But I do believe that learning why we fight, how we fight (militarily and by other means) and what it takes to win is a more productive activity than going about life as if nothing can touch us within our bubble. As 9-11 should have taught us, lack of vigilance can be painfully self-critiquing.

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