|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
I had done a small write up of their passing, not really expecting anyone to read. I definitely didn’t expect the father in law of Yance Gray to leave a comment. As of the time of this writing, approximately 3700 men and women have died in Iraq, and while I honor all of their sacrifices deeply, none of them were personal.
None had a face, and while it’s easy to speak with indignation about not letting these fallen soldiers become a statistic, such a thing is a little more complicated in actual practice. I have never known personally a soldier who had fallen on the field of battle. I’ve not lost any family members or close friends. As much as I hate to say it, to a degree, 3700 has become just a number, a statistic.
Mr. Kenn Duncan changed that.
You say it over and over again, that these numbers have meaning, that they are fathers and sons and brothers and sisters and mothers and members of their community with best friends and people praying for their safe return, but it took the father in law of a fallen soldier to bring it home to me.
Since, I’ve read the mournful remembrances of his closest friends, and have anguished over the photograph of him standing with his lovely wife and beautiful daughter. I have spent much time over the past week or so trying to piece together the lives of Tell and Omar, and while I can never say that I was their friend, I can not feel the grief their families must still burn with, I can say that I have somehow come closer to understanding, and knowing that the world lost two great Americans, soldiers, and men that day.
Further, their conviction and courage has impressed upon me most profoundly. While still serving in the military I grew politically active and started blogging, but fearing some sort of backlash or reprimand, did so anonymously, not revealing my true name until after leaving the US Navy.
These men stood proudly by what they had to say about how they felt and what they had seen. Without reservation they attached their names to their sentiments, and sent it to THE paper of record. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.
You don’t have to agree with the Iraq War to support the brave men and women in our armed forces. You don’t have to agree with the politics. The way I see it, it all comes down to that oath, and what it stands for.
These soldiers took a simple oath, they stood up and said that the ideals of America were bigger than they were, and that for those ideals, they would without question sacrifice their lives.
That’s what this is all about. From one day to the next we can bicker and argue over whether a certain war is right or wrong, but at the end of it all, there must be an understanding that men and women like Sgt. Gray and Sgt. Mora, despite the partisan battles that go on back home, continue to day in and day out perform their duties as soldiers.
Remember the closing words of their OpEd, “As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.”
We as Americans have much we can stand to learn from soldiers such as Yance and Omar. Least of which is that this very same spirit of fidelity fuels not only the flame from which this country was born, but exists to this day.