The True Cost of War
I’ve got a friend on Facebook who is a bit of a tough guy and serves in the Army. He’s a power lifter and weight lifting is an extreme hobby of his. He’s very laid back, but still an incredibly strong personality – probably the reason he was promoted to Sergeant. This guy even served in Iraq. And yet, for all his tough guy personality he posted something so sentimental the other day that I haven’t stopped thinking about it. He posted about the true cost of war.
It wasn’t a long, drawn out post. That’s not his style. It just said “That was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my military career. Escorting you home, but I am honored I had the opportunity.” He had to bring one of the men under his leadership home in a casket. A man who wasn’t just one of his underlings, but a personal friend. In so few words, one of the toughest guys I know said something so powerful and heart-felt that it creates such a strong sense of emotion in me every time I think about it. That is the true cost of war.
This is the reason we celebrate Memorial Day. Because men like my friend are reduced down to such a primal level of sadness with the passing of every one of their friends and servicemen. It has nothing to do with BBQ’s and pool parties, although many forget that. Memorial Day is certainly not about the sales offered by businesses to try and increase their bottom line with no regards to the moral cost of forgetting the true purpose of this day.
War costs money, but it could just as easily be measured in the billions of tears that are shed each year by families that are forever one person short or by the multitude of questions fielded by a widowed parent by a child who has never known their mom or dad. These are the reasons we take one special day out of each year to specifically remember those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice for some schmuck like me who they fought to protect. This day isn’t relegated to just the fallen of modern warfare. America has 300 years of history and our country’s foundation is rooted in the necessary bloodshed of the American Revolution – a sad testament to the necessity of our armed forces and reaching reminder of just how many people have fallen in combat.
So take a few moments this Memorial Day and remember those who have given their lives and the families who are affected. Remember the centuries of fallen servicemen and women and what their sacrifice means in the scope of America. And most importantly, remember that we are the home of the free, because of the brave. That is the true cost of war.