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| Posted By: on: 09/21/2000 11:29:30 EDT
Subject: RE: The Soldiers...........
One thing I think, when I try to rationalize all of this is that these are definitely different people, in many ways, than we are today. What we think are brutal hardships are merely everyday occurrences to them.
These are men who had a duty and a sense of patriotism above and beyond what any of us today can imagine. Often, we take our lives, our country and our freedoms for granted, but these are men for whom the Revolution and the War of 1812, etc. are recent history, men who may have heard their fathers or grandfathers speak of 'the old days' when these events occurred.
Today, we are spoiled. We have cars and air conditioners, refrigerators and microwave ovens, supermarkets and convenience stores, etc., and we are only limited in what we can get by the amount of money we have. The men and women of the past knew of no such luxuries. Most were poor by today's sense of the word, and to them their three greatest possessions were their homes, their families, and their freedom, all of which they felt were being threatened by the war, and all of which they resolved to give the last full measure to protect, regardless of what that measure entailed.
I'm not putting today's society down in any way, or lessening the deeds of the men of the past, as first of all, I take pride in that we live in what, in spite of it's flaws, is still without a doubt the greatest nation ever known to mankind. One only has to watch the Olympics and see the stories of personal tragedy that many atheletes in the 'not-so-free' countries have had to endure, such as the Chinese gymnast who was taken from her parents at the age of four, seeing them only twice a year at most,, and who undergoes intensive training everyday and is expected to perform regardless, or the Russian gymnast who has been in training for four months, and who will not get to see his two-month old son until after the games are over, to appreciate this on a more powerful level.
In today's society, where our new recruits in the military are given a 'time-out card' to use to take a break in the event that basic training gets too stressful, it is easy to forget the deeds of the veterans of the past, not just the Civil War, but in all wars, up to and including Vietnam, which though different than the CW, was still just as hellish to the men involved, in every sense of the word, or the WWI & WWII veterans who endured the same hardships. These men (in most cases, they were boys, really) had no choice, and losing was not an option, because if they did lose, the world as we know it would be lost. How's that for pressure? The boys of the United States saved the world at least twice, and that is something I think the whole world has forgotten, well, not quite the whole world, because a lot of us here do and will remember.
Four years, eating basically crap, marching and living in all elements and sometimes coming under fire almost everyday? Which war is this? It could be one of many. In all cases, I don't know how any of them did it, but I thank God every day that he gave them the strength and ability to do so, and I thank them all every day for the willingness and devotion to see these conflicts through.
Our country is only as strong as our veterans, as they more than anybody have seen that it remains what it is. Whether they be Rev. War, Civil War, World War, or other war veterans, all have shown extreme courage and devotion, and have suffered hardships of us that those of us at home cannot even begin to imagine.
Can't be said any better than that, JR. You captured the true essence of it all.