Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Why we must watch

Tuesday evening my wife asked me if it was wrong for her to want to watch the various programs recalling the events of 9/11/2001. In my eyes it would be wrong of her not to want to watch those programs because as painful as these shows are; we Americans sometimes need to be reminded why we have to fight for who we are as a people and as a nation.

Freedom is something America sometimes takes for granted and there are so many places in the world even in 2012 where the very freedoms we enjoy are forbidden. Sadly we still live in a world where the color of your skin, the God you choose to worship or your sexual preference has led to acts of violence against people.

My mother's side of the family is Polish and as a child I used to wonder why my Uncle Louie had a bunch of numbers tattooed on his arm. When I was deemed old enough, I was taught the story of the Holocaust and what price members of my family paid for being Jewish.

I am no saint, for years I hated Arabs and followers of Islam as a whole because some of them hated the state of Israel. There are way too many people in the world who judge an entire people because of the acts of a few.

To this day I refuse to call those who committed those horrible acts as Islamic terrorists. To do that would blame a religion for the acts of criminals who have hijacked Islam for their "cause."

Should I still hate Germans for the acts of a group of people committed over 70 years ago? Should we still hate the Japanese for Pearl Harbor?

I bring that up because my older brother wrote this on Facebook yesterday. He was kind enough to let me post it here and I hope after you finish reading it you will understand why we can't just turn the channel when a show about 9/11 appears.

I am reminded of the morning we all remember today and which changed our country and our lives forever.

I rode to work on a motorcycle and had no idea what had occurred. When I arrived at work, all of the officers in the station were in the briefing room watching the tv. I looked in saw a burning tower and started to ask what movie they were watching. Then I saw the second plane hit the tower. I knew instantly that it wasn't a movie. I also knew as did most, that this was an attack on our own soil.

Being a Reserve US Army Soldier, I knew I would be mobilized. It didn't happen until August of 2003 for me.

Years have passed, and I am no longer a Soldier, or a Police Officer. Yet I remain in service and standing side by side with Soldiers and Police Officers trying to make a difference, knowing a difference has been made and believing there is a bigger difference in the making.

I look at the youth in Afghanistan and see the highest number of educated youth in the country’s history. This is the future and the only way to counteract the control of an educated few over the masses. Today's Children are the leaders of tomorrow. Most of them "Get it". Most, not all. There are many reasons we can't reach them all.

Things change. they change slowly, but change happens and continues to happen, for the good.

When Americans become discouraged with our efforts in Afghanistan, I ask that you stop and consider the length of time US and Coalition Soldiers have been in Europe and Japan after the 2nd World War. I ask that you consider the same for our presence in South Korea and our presence in other places around the world trying to head off future attacks by other fanatics.

I ask that instead of complaining that it should all be over, understand that no civilization has been changed in less than 10 years with the exception of those completely wiped out by invading forces. That is Not who we are as a people, nor what we do.

I ask that we remember the sacrifices of our Soldiers, and their families and of our Nation as a whole. I ask that we continue to have patience.

Afghanistan is Not the same country it was. Nor are all of the Afghan people radical extremists bent on destroying the world.

The same as was required post World War 2, and the Korean War, we must continue to have patience, continue to work towards a better long term change, and continue to bring education to Afghanistan.

This is my opinion from what I see on the ground in Kabul, and as I travel around the country. I know that some of you will disagree and may not be able to see it from my perspective.

I wrote this because it is so easy to be blind to the many changes that have been made, and those that continue to be made. Rapid change is like weight loss, it bounces right back. Slow change is also like weight loss, a slow change and reduction in weight will usually be maintained.

There is risk in all that we do. I see many US and Coalition Military, Police, and Civilians working towards a better future for and with, Afghans, also Miltiary, Police and Civilians.

I will never forget. Because of that, I will also never give up on working to make this a better place.

Patience, persistence, and unwavering commitment is what makes the long term difference

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