Saturday, November 29, 2008

Every Day I Honor You

I’m a liberal. I’m not religious. I live in an academic culture. I vote for democratic party candidates, including Obama. I am against the concept of war.

Already you may hate me. Already you may have your guard up, thinking that I’m the enemy, or at the very least, an opponent to your views. Already you may be thinking about firing off an angry email to the site owners for inviting me to post.

But keep reading, because you and I have more in common than not. I could give a long, melodramatic list of shared humanity here, like how we all bleed, or struggle to give something more to our kids, or are just basically looking for someone to love us. But that would make me just as bored as you. We’ve all read that kind of emotional plea and frankly, we’re over it. You and I have something in common because we believe in the same things. We share a belief in democracy. We are both Americans because we want to be. We both love our country, despite its flaws. We are both proud and ashamed of our country’s successes and failures.

And we both dream of being heroes. Not those ubiquitous everyday ones like a Higglytown Hero or SuperGrover or even a doctor or a nurse. We dream of being the kind of hero that many people remember for the rest of their lives, the kind of hero that a grandparent tells their grandkids about, the kind that earns the momentous phrase, “And that’s where she walked in…”

For most of us, this won’t happen. In daily life, moments of extreme greatness are practically non-existent. Maybe you were lucky enough to sink the winning basket at the division championship in high school. Maybe you got your name in the paper for pulling a kid out of the riptide. Maybe you were the beloved school teacher whose one note of encouragement changed a life. Our soldiers may or may not be these kinds of heroes. Like the teacher, soldiers are just doing their jobs. They are kids from the ‘hood and farmers from the plains that were looking for a better future for themselves and their families. In striving for that better future, they ended up in a desert far away from the soil they call home. But more often than us they are faced with situations that will determine their fate.

This is what makes them different than you and me. Individual people can only strive for tiny bits of greatness. But even those tiny bits of greatness add up to what we call America. In facing these fateful moments while doing their jobs, these soldiers are giving huge chunks of greatness to America. This is where I, stay-at-home liberal techie academic mom, walk in. I took the time to contact one of those soldiers. I told that soldier that we all think of him and every single one of his military brothers and sisters daily. Even if I didn’t use these exact words, when that desperate second in time is upon him I hope he will hear my sentiment: “We love you. We love America. You are us and we are you. It doesn’t matter what we agree on or don’t. Right here, right now, as always, we are with you. We are all with you.”

That tiny spark of support might get a soldier through a perilous situation, or maybe just through an crushingly boring or lonely day. That is my effort to contribute a drop in the awesome bucket that is America. And this is where you walk in. It doesn’t matter if you hate me. It doesn’t matter if we agree. Contribute a spark, a drop, a tiny bit of greatness everyday. Not sure how to do it? Try signing up to write to a soldier. Even if you send only one email with only one line like “I think about you,” that one drop could turn into a waterfall that saves the morale of an American in danger.

We are lucky. We have a basically orderly society, especially compared to others throughout the world. Despite horrible mistakes and aggressive hits, we keep going. We are strong. Out of many, we are one people. Together we will move on. Walk in the steps of heroes and take the time to tell our soldiers that even though they are far away, we haven't forgotten them. Your own spirit will be lifted. You’ll feel like a hero.

Veterans and soldiers, today and everyday I honor you. We all honor you. Thank you.

Christine Cavalier (PurpleCar)


This post is part of our Why Americans Should Support Our Troops ongoing series. We encourage you to participate too.

Help support our troops this holiday season. Participate in one of our many projects or register with eMOM and sign up to correspond with service members one-on-one. Learn more about sending holiday mail to our troops.

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