Last semester I had to write a letter to the editor for my English 2010 class. I chose to write it on military support. I posted a link to it on facebook, but since my last post I've had several requests to put the letter on here as well. Here's a link, as well as a copy of what it said. Enjoy!
It has now officially been three months since my older brother returned from Afghanistan where he served a yearlong deployment with the United States Marine Corps.
After having my own flesh and blood serve two honorable deployments, freedom means more to me than I ever imagined it could. Unfortunately, my brother's company lost two fine young men in the service of our country. I find it nearly impossible to hold back the tears during every national anthem, every parade, and every flag ceremony.
I recently attended a football game in which a beautiful arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was performed. My mind whirling with emotions, I reflected on the last year. What it was like to pray each night that somehow my brother would be spared.
I found myself reproducing images of those two humbling funerals, where miles of sidewalks were lined with Boy Scouts holding flags, two mothers grasping a flag that had been laid over their sons' caskets, and seven Marines firing their weapons in their honor followed by taps. Tears flowing down my face, I looked around at the crowd to find a sight that made my stomach turn and my knees shake.
I looked behind me to find a man talking on his cell phone, completely oblivious to what was around him. A girl to the right of me was texting. A young man stood in front of me who was looking in the complete opposite direction, his hand now sunk to his stomach from lack of attention.
A sight like this was heartbreaking. After seeing what others have sacrificed for us, I have concluded that this country really doesn't ask much of us. We have been blessed to have beautiful homes, places to worship whatever religion we please, and opportunities beyond that of any other nation. Is putting one's hand over their heart, looking at a flag, and reflecting on our freedom so much to ask for? Are we completely ignorant of the thousands who are fighting for us this very second?
Next time you see the American flag or hear the Pledge of Allegiance, I hope you reflect on these thoughts. Your very own neighbors are lying awake at night with the thought of their loved ones not returning. I know my brother's sacrifice was not in vain, but I hope that somewhere out there people are willing to display their gratitude.