This I believe

Annika - Traverse City, Michigan
Entered on June 3, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

This I believe

Though the war in Iraq has cost many people their lives, I believe we should stay and finish the mission, or all that the military has begun will go to waste and in a few years, the United States will again invade the Middle East. I feel helpless thinking that this cycle will not end.

Brave men and women join the military knowing fully well what may be required of them…they are trained for the very worst. The top responsibility on their job list is protecting their American brothers and sisters back home. That being said, I believe that even if people do not agree with the war they should at the very least support the people who make it safe for them to go about their own daily lives. Is a short prayer asking God to protect those in the military too much to ask? I do not always pray for our troops. Yet, when I think about the people that I know in the military I feel terrible for not taking the time to say a prayer for them.

In the Middle East, people cannot cross streets without the risk of becoming victim to a suicide bomber or a roadside bomb. I could not imagine having to live in such conditions. Yet, American men and women in the military deal with this every day on the job. They are hungry, thirsty, sleep deprived, shell-shocked. Some are even experiencing the first stages of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Yet, they still find the strength to persevere through it all. I feel safe when I think about the strength in soldiers, but I also feel guilty that I have not done anything to deserve their protection.

When their tour of duty ends, soldiers have to readjust to the bustling life in the states…by the way; this tour of duty is unlikely to be their last. Few soldiers receive a hero’s welcome home; many are scrutinized for fighting in a war that some believe should not be fought. Some have lost limbs, lost friends, lost the ability to function in American society. Numerous soldiers are burned almost beyond recognition, some cannot go back to school, some cannot find work. I do not know how I would cope if I were to become victim of any of these hardships.

I realize that it does not take long to write a letter, or put together a care package that can be sent to a soldier fighting for me. I know that there was once a list of names of soldiers in our school’s classrooms, on the white boards in the office…names that most of us recognize…names that for many us bring an image in our minds of people we know and love. Soldiers are brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, friends.

I believe that the men and women in the military deserve the best care, and the most compassion we can give them. I will probably never be able to thank, or repay the soldiers for what they have done for me…for what they have done for all of us. I realize that if I really care about my friends and family in the military then I will not find it hard to serve the people who serve me everyday in the worst conditions possible.