*I posted this a year ago, but as I read over it a few days ago, I decided I couldn't say it much better or differently, so I decided to share it again this Remembrance Day.
I tried to find a poem fitting to share, but just couldn't find one that said what I wanted to say, that felt how I feel, that believed what I believe.
I know we take soldiers for granted. I know we take our liberties and luxuries for granted. I believe, without having lived under combat conditions, it is impossible to comprehend the sacrifices thousands upon thousands have made to promote and preserve democracy around the world.
I believe, in our land and time of peace, it is impossible to fully appreciate what freedom really means. I think that's why it's so easy to point fingers, to complain, and to make all sorts of assumptions and accusations regarding war, the causes of war, the consequenses of war.
I get so sick and tired of the uproar that's caused whenever a soldier comes home in a flag-draped coffin. The inquests and inquiries and public outrage make me sick. Why can't we just gratefully accept the death for the gift of life it bears for us? The freedom it affords us? Why must the streets be lined with angry protesters instead of respectful mourners, heads bowed in reverence and thanks?
I know some argue that we have no place fighting certain battles, but we tend to forget that our soldiers don't just fight for OUR peace and freedom. They help others fight for theirs as well. Those who are oppressed by their own governments, those who are ruled by sadistic dictators and evil despots ~ innocent and poor and unable to escape their lot in life.
Sure, sometimes our governments stick their noses where they don't belong, and yes, it's an incalculable loss when young men and women die, especially for causes that are not particularly near and dear to our hearts, and that we don't understand. But I choose to be thankful anyway.
Thankful someone was willing to become a soldier, to bear arms, so I wasn't forced to.
Thankful someone was willing to fight so I could stay here to enjoy the peace.
Thankful someone was willing to sacrifice the comforts of home so I could continue to enjoy the comforts of my home, the embrace of my family.
Thankful someone was willing to die in my place. And in the place of countless others.
I choose to honour the fallen instead of being angry. I choose to remember instead of disrespecting their sacrifice.
And I choose to be grateful for the countless freedoms they helped ensure.