Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Say a Prayer for the Common Foot Soldier

Some attempted thoughts from years ago, that are sadly both still accurate and terribly current. The Big Names and Important People will be weighing in all this week on how their lives changed on September 9th, 2001. The rest of us are no more than walk-ons in their life movies, rarely if ever ending up with a speaking part, but that's just as well because what would we say?

Could we be as pragmatic and matter-of-fact as Captain David Zielinski, U. S. Army who was a junior in college on September 11, 2001, and a decade later was half a world away from family and friends, again, doing what he could to remake the world?

We forget the world, not just the United States, changed on September 11, 2001. Flight Lieutenant Katie Muldoon, Royal Air Force (United Kingdom) helps us remember the reverberations felt beyond the Pentagon, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and Lower Manhattan. The Lieutenant was on her third tour of Afghanistan when that story was created as part of the British contingent of NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, a more critically important mission, and a more thankless task is almost impossible to imagine.

You could be Major Daniel Williams, US Army, back for another tour of duty in Afghanistan and who volunteered to be a Scoutmaster for a fledgling Boy and Girl Scout troop operating from an orphanage in Kabul.

It starts to sink in when you meet the Marines from the Third Battalion, Sixth Marines who were in Marjah, Afghanistan, where they had been deployed a year earlier and you realize practically none of those now-grizzled faces you are listening to were even in high school when War Came to America in 2001. 

When you watch "Mike" the MWD (Military Working Dog) it dawns on you that there's 'a war' that gets less and less screen time on the evening news and above the fold in your daily paper (not because it's suddenly less deadly but because we are paying less attention to it) and the war that hundreds of thousands of American service personnel are engaged in every day so that we can sit home and worry about the price of gasoline, fret about the calories a certain dessert will help us pack on or live vicariously through reading of the latest exploits of Publicity Panda Bears, be they named Kim, Snooki or Chelsea.

And if all of this seems to be two different worlds, it's because it is growing farther apart every day, all the way home and beyond.
-bill kenny

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