I know I speak for the entire Military Missions family as I express my sorrow at hearing the news that we have lost 31 more of our nation’s heroes, who were shot down in Afghanistan. This information was the first thing I learned when I woke up this morning and the news has redefined my day.
With tears, I wondered, do I know anyone who was in that helicopter? Numerous names and faces flooded my mind. Being a former SF mom, I happen to know quite a few people who serve in our nation’s most elite units. Maybe we’ve lost one of those on our care package list? What if it is someone who was a close friend of someone else I know? What if we’ve lost someone who served with my own son? What if I have to go and watch another friend bury their son or their husband?
What if I don’t know a single one of these brave troops who just gave their lives for me? It honestly doesn’t matter if I have a personal connection because right now, there are 31 American families who are going to find out today that their loved one is not coming home. There are countless friends and brothers-in-arms who are trying to figure out how to go on because of this loss. These people will mourn because their loved one made a sacrifice for every one of us and this, in itself, makes it very personal to me.
What makes me even sadder today is that 95% of our nation’s citizens will do nothing more than make a comment on Facebook and move on with their lives marking today as one with a newsworthy mention of the War on Terror. Most people don’t know someone personally who has lost a loved one to this war, but for those of us who do, it’s pretty hard to keep moving forward on days like this.
These men who died today have not only served our nation, but they have gone through some of the most difficult training just to be chosen for a Special Ops team. Once chosen, their intense training continues. There is a reason these forces are elite. These men must promise to keep everything they do confidential…..always. No matter how dangerous their missions are, and no matter how much they accomplish to keep our nation safe, they will not ever get recognition for doing so, and isn’t that part of what sets them apart as true heroes?
As of yesterday, 2011 had brought us a loss of 240 American lives in Afghanistan. Today that number jumps to 271. The total number of American lives lost since October, 2001, now stands at 1,608. I won’t even quote the number of lives lost in Iraq or the number of lives who are forever changed because of physical and mental injuries.
I’m not one to remain stuck in a terminal pity party, but I think that today is one in which our nation should be in mourning. If you are not deeply saddened by today’s news of the loss of 31 special operation troops, and you have not taken a moment to reflect on all that you have, and all who have given over the past 235 years so you could have it, then it is my suggestion that you take some time out of your day to contemplate your blessings and give thanks to those who have made it possible for you to live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
For those of us who have experienced some sort of personal sacrifice in this never-ending war, news of each and every injury and death hits us harder than the one before. Please pray for all of us who have to reopen old wounds every time we hear that someone else has made a sacrifice.
We need to uphold, in prayer, the families and the team members of those who gave their lives in the past 24 hours. We must also remember to pray for those who continue to serve in harm’s way, and we need to realize that events such as this put fear into the lives of each one here on the homefront who has a loved one serving.
The next time you see someone wearing the uniform, or someone who has already served, please take a minute to tell them, and their family members, you appreciate their service. I don’t think these brave souls could ever tire of hearing someone thank them for all they have done.
Don’t ever forget your freedom is not free.