To encourage and fortify relationships between military service members, veterans, their families, their friends, and their Country; to nurture the path of communication for everyone, ensuring that no one is alone or left behind; and proving that we have not, are not, and will never forget the nobility of their sacrifices.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Trust, Believe, And Blind Faith

I recently heard someone say, “I don’t have anything invested in the War in Afghanistan.”  I don’t understand this thought.  As American’s we have men and women’s lives invested.  We have mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, and friends invested in the War.  I have felt the impact of casualties of War one person removed.  Having felt the pain of losing people close to me, I feel sympathy for the families and loved ones, without having known the fallen. 
Recently the War in Afghanistan has become more personal for me with the deployment of a good friend.  It is a different feeling having someone I care about go to War, versus meeting someone who is already at War; that I come to care about, which has been the case in the past.  Now that the War is personal, I find my thoughts drifting there often.  I wonder how he is, what he’s doing?  When I hear of an attack, helicopter crash, or a casualty I can’t help but pray he’s safe. 
This morning I received an email from my friend.  His very short note gave me the same high Christmas morning gave me as a child.  I smiled until my cheeks hurt.  This evening I discovered another friend was waiting for the identities of men killed in action.  I was told, “This is the life.  It’s what you do.  You wait.”  Now that War is more personal to me, the news of casualties impacts me with more feeling, sadness, and fear.   
I have lost people close to me, so I understand grief.  I understand the questions and pain it raises.  Have felt the hole left at weddings and births from the absence of the person who should be there.  I have cried in pain wondering if I will ever be happy again.  It is because of this understanding my heart goes out to friends and family to those who die in war; for it is the ones left behind who feel the most pain. 
When I expressed my fear of death for my deployed friend my grieving friend told me, “You have to trust in his team, in his friends, in their training that they will take care of each other, or die trying.” 
It never occurred to me civilians need to trust in those they have never met to protect the ones they love.  In the civilian world this is an unusual concept.  I have found many who would rather not get involved than protect, or watch the back of another person, especially one they don’t know very well.  I know with confidence any one of the military friends I have, would give their life for a stranger.
It made me think, knowing you’re not alone, that someone always has your back must be comforting.  I imagine this is the sort of faith children have in their parents, but a parent/child relationship is not the same kind of relationship, which binds in war.  A parent would die for a child, but a child would not die for a parent.  (Nor would the parent want them too.  This is the difference.) 
Another difference is environment.  When at war the smallest decisions, like untied shoelaces, hold the possibility of being deadly.  If shoelaces are not tied, it slows down reaction time, putting a teammates life in danger.  In the civilian world, untied shoelaces do not mean possible death. 
The average American is not routinely faced with dangerous or deadly situations, and if they are, their normal response is flight or submission.  In the past I experienced two separate situations where I was faced with men bigger and stronger armed with weapons.  Being far from “average” I fought them armed only with pure rage and words, winning both battles.  At no time did the thought of “back up” cross my mind.  I was alone and I knew it.  The only trust I had; was in myself.  This is the trust of a typical American.  Fact is, I have a handful of people I trust with my life, and still have fingers left over.  Trust is not easy.
The idea of being surrounded by people who constantly protect each other everyday, as shown in the little things like tying ones shoelace or staying hydrated is a foreign concept to me.  It is a concept I will accept and believe in though, because believing gives me hope.  Hope that more men and women will reunite with their families than funerals attended.   
In the end, I am forced to trust, believe, and have blind faith in the bond generated by war.  To trust in the brotherhood that combat creates to protect those I love.


Spockgirl said...

I think this is great that you wrote such a personal article, as I know that it helps one keep balance while at the same time acting as a release. I've been sitting here trying to think of what else to say, but am taking too long, so I'll be popping you an email too.

Anonymous said...


You truly do understand, may God continue to Bless you and your family. We will endure with the faith and confidence of those like you who "get it". Many, many more will never ever understand, few will endeavor to try. Never ever forget those who came before us, providing us with their ultimate sacrafice, so that we could remain free. Those who belittle us will never know the true meaning of courage for it is born in the crucible of combat, something they will never have the stomach to endure.

Thank You for all that you do, remember our REAL history and pass it to your sons.

Olde Guy