This weekend was a busy one for me. I had military drill. I was camping. I was drinking. I was enjoying all those great things that make life worth living. I was enjoying the sun on my skin. I was enjoying the fresh mountain air. I was enjoying intelligent conversation. I had some good food. I listened to people talk about how their life sucks for one reason or another, and I was able to ignore it. I was not letting people blame others for their short comings. At least I was not letting it get to me.
While I was doing all this, there were a group of people also living in tents, but not eating as good, or enjoying those creature comforts we take for granted. These men and women where set out on the purpose of making life better for all of us. They where away from their family's. While they where toiling about and dealing with some adverse conditions, some ass hat fired a rocket propelled grenade at their Chinook helicopter abruptly ending their lives.
Thirty one was the count. Most people do not talk to that many people in a day unless they are in customer service. People will mourn their loss. People will talk about their sacrifice, but they will forget that men and women of the service but themselves in harms way every day and understand the risk that is involved. They understand that they may die serving their country. This is a tragic loss, but if you really want to honor them honor the memory of their service, not just how it ended.
To many people I think get this wrong. Think of it like a funeral. The vast majority mourn the loss of their friend, or loved one. They do so with a display of tears and sobbing fit for a day time Emmy. How about you celebrate their life instead, and let their loved ones know how effective they where in changing your life. Do something good that is fitting to celebrate their life, rather then fixate on the end of their life.
It starts by doing more then a yellow ribbon magnet on the back of your car. It starts by you understanding what they died for, and your basic rights as a human being that these men so valiantly died in service of. You can honor them by voting, making America something to be proud of, or raising your children with no fear of oppression. You want to do something better to thank the service members for what they do, maybe pick up their check if you see them in a restaurant, and leave before they can thank you. You can contribute to the USO or other groups that support and aid the troops. Maybe you can honor them by sending a care package, greeting card, or hand written letter to a service member overseas.
Yes it is sad, but mourning them is also not the right way to honor them. Put their bodies to rest, but carry on the support of their work. If you can't fight you can do something meaningful though. You can do so much more then make their deaths a drama. It sucks, one of those guys was in my unit. However I am not going to try to draw attention to myself in the process by being vocal about his death. I am however going to continue to support the efforts of our countries service by staying in. I am going to continue to support that service by doing all I can to help soldiers in combat, and those out of it. I can not let even one of those lives lost in any of the wars we fought loose meaning.
Celebrate their life more then you mourn their loss. Take care of those service members you see, and don't forget the ones you don't. Vote, enjoy those freedoms they protect. Speak out in public, own a gun, do what ever you feel you need to, too exercise your appreciation of their sacrifice and at least read the Constitution