We Could Learn a Lesson from Soldiers

I spent these last two weeks helping soldiers prepare for deployment. Namely, my job as a Chaplain Candidate was to ensure that the religious preference of the soldier was the same as what we had in the system. Between seeing over a hundred soldiers each day and just my general encounters with the soldiers at the range or on the way to eat, I was once again struck by the caliber of our soldiers.

I made a trip out to the grenade range  and talked with a group of soldiers sitting out in the hot and humid Oklahoma afternoon sun. They had found some shade underneath a vehicle and had proceeded to prop, sit, or lay down in whatever fashion they could wearing full body armor. The comment that I kept hearing over and over was, “Yeah, we’re hot, but it’s gonna be hotter over there.” Instead of complaining about the stifling heat, the lack of shade, or the headache inducing grenade concussion these soldiers made the best of an uncomfortable situation.

I know the military can often be difficult with its countless rules and regulations and endless piles of paperwork, but when you actually get to spend time with the men and women who make up the ranks of our military you start to realize how amazing these people are.

The soldiers that I spent the last two weeks with are preparing to spend a large amount of time away from family, friends, safety, and comfort. They are putting their lives on hold so that you can live your life without interruption. They are sacrificing their comfort so that you don’t have to. Perhaps the most amazing and most telling thing is that they are doing it with a positive attitude and optimistic outlook.

The American public is able to live in such comfort and security because there are a select few in this country willing to give up such niceties, put on a uniform, and throw themselves between those who wish to destroy this country and the people of America. They do this day after day, no matter what the public thinks of them, even if they are never thanked, and even if the political climate has changed; they are still there doing their job quietly, professionally, and persistently.

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2 thoughts on “We Could Learn a Lesson from Soldiers

  1. You know, they say it’s a thankless job. That’s no lie.
    I always see the cliche yellow ribbon Support The Troops magnets all over, but I wonder how many of them are sincere. I wonder if they have someone in the line of fire. I wonder if they have ever sent a care package or a letter.
    Of all the things I have mixed feelings about, the one thing that hits me the hardest is the morale of soldiers. What are you supposed to say to a combat vet? I had people thank me left and right when I came back. Honestly, thanks isn’t what I wanted to hear. Welcome home or I’m glad you’re back would have been fine.
    I don’t know. I try to evaluate everything I did and put it into some kind of real context, but it all seemed so jumbled. Maybe I should just stop trying to think so hard about it and be glad God allowed me another chance.
    What do you think, Sir?

  2. Thanks for the comment. I too have struggled with what to say when I get the “Thanks for your service” line. Usually the best I can come up with is “You’re welcome” or “Just doing my job.”

    I think there are two things that make it hard for me to come up with an answer: 1. I do just see myself as doing my job. I’m not some hero. I’m just a normal guy with a slightly more risky occupation than most. 2. I wonder how many of the people who offer their thanks so readily really try to understand the sacrifices soldiers make every day.

    I really don’t know. This I can say for sure though… when a veteran of a previous war says “thanks for your service” I know that I can look them in the eye and thank them right back because a veteran, unlike so many in this country today, knows what it means to serve and sacrifice.

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