Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Reflection on War and Military

I saw a documentary last night called Hell and Back Again. It followed a young American soldier as he fought in Afghanistan. He happens to get wounded which gives the opportunity for them to document his recovery at home. The film makers flip back and forth between these two settings which works well for the film and really shows the contrast between what most of us live everyday compared to what it is like fighting in a war.

It really put things into perspective. The daily problems we think are such a big deal are really nothing compared to what these soldiers are facing in battle each day. I could see how going to war, surviving, and then returning home would have a huge impact on who you are. I think if you could get through a situation like that, it would make everything in regular life seem like a piece of cake. At the same time, it can have a negative effect on the soldier and cause reoccurring stress from memories of what happened while they were at war.

Overall the documentary was captivating and thought provoking throughout. The camera crew was right up on the front lines as gunfire and bombs were being sent back and forth between the troops and the enemies. I kept thinking about how brave these guys were to put themselves in a situation like that, thousands of miles from home, where they could be killed at any moment.

I found it interesting how the soldier explained how he was dedicated and willing to die for his country and how most share that mindset, yet at the same time, he explained that they didn't really know the big picture as to why they were fighting. I have heard this same message expressed in another war documentary. That's great that they can follow orders without knowing exactly why, but personally, I would need a clear reason as to why we are fighting before I would put myself in that kind of situation.

I have never really thought about the military in depth, but on this Memorial day, this documentary got me thinking. I realized I took our freedom for granted. Other countries could attack us and try to take our land and belongings and change the way we live, but they don't because we have a strong military that would prevent this sort of thing.  After doing a little research I found out that the US has the 2nd most military troupes out of all the countries in the world behind China. 

Each soldier plays a small role and has a specific job. One may not be able to do much, but all of them together protect our entire country. The cost is huge and the tax payers must pay for it, but you can't really put a price on freedom and safety.

Before watching the documentary, I also took soldiers for granted. I figured they get paid, so it is just like any other job. I realize now that the difference is that they are risking their lives to protect us. This is why we must recognize them and thank them for their services as well as remember those who died fighting for our country.

With the fighting and so many lives being lost so easily, it seems like there must be a better solution. I wonder if it is worth it. Do soldiers have to die to accomplish a goal? Sometimes it seems like our country gets involved with matters that are so far disconnected. I understand that we as a strong country should do the right thing to protect innocent people in other countries, but again, if it costs American lives, is it worth it?

You would think in modern age, the wars would be over. Thankfully for the most part the world is stable and peaceful, yet there is still, and most likely always will be conflict somewhere.

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