What inspires us to lend out a helping hand to someone? Is it out of pity? Is there something in it to benefit us? Do we do it to feel better about ourselves? Or is it something more? Is it that unconditional love that one human can have for another? The same love that sends soldiers overseas, fighting for freedom. An article I read for class from The Oprah Show, which can be found here, left me asking these questions.
We have taken our freedom for granted, often forgetting where it came from. We are so lost in a materialistic world that we forget to appreciate the lives that were lost and the sacrifices that were made so that we have the freedom of speech, the freedom of choosing a religion, and the freedom of gaining an education.
We can challenge an idea without fear for our lives, and even though we have been so gifted many of us turn a blind eye to soldiers and their families. Apathy seems to be an epidemic blowing across this country. Many Americans have used their opinions on the war as an excuse to ignore the problems veterans and families of soldiers face. In the article of The Oprah Show, in which Oprah interviewed Tom Brokaw, he stated that less than one percent of Americans bear the burden of this war. But is it moral to allow this one percent to suffer so that we may benefit? Is it true that we have allowed feelings of self righteousness turn our respect for soldiers into pity and disdain?
It is the media to blame for our contorted views of the war. Americans aren’t being informed about humanitarian efforts soldiers in Afghanistan are making, or the progress they have made. Retired USAF SMSgt Rex Temple came to our class on Monday and gave a presentation on his experience in Afghanistan. SMSgt Rex Temple told us about his team and their humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan, such as bringing food, radios, and school supplies to small villages.
I was made aware of the danger that he and his team faced every day. What came as a shock was finding out the horrible conditions many villagers lived in, and the fear with which they lived. The Taliban had great control over the villagers and any person who spoke against them was in danger of losing their life. Media won’t show military humanitarian efforts but will jump at a chance to show violence and death. No wonder so many Americans find it hard to agree with the war; they live in ignorance.
So it is our responsibility, as civilians, to reach out to soldiers and their families and show support. It is time that we show how grateful we are, and that we bear the burden of this war as a unified country. The roles need to be reversed, the soldiers are calling on us now. So my question is: Where are you, America?