I'm working at a concert venue this summer, and before each show, they play the national anthem. To many, it seems to be a simple tradition that carries little real significance. People go on buying food and souvenirs, looking for their seats, and texting other friends attending.
In light of the recent deaths in Afghanistan, I want to say thank you to all those who serve our country. We may not always agree with what the government decides to do, but these men and women put their lives on the line every day to help ensure our freedom and safety. Most of us will probably be fortunate enough to never personally know someone who gave their life for our country, but each person willing to take that risk deserves our heart-felt gratitude.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was quoted in the article saying, "We ought to remember that the troops we lose in this war aren't just statistics or numbers on a wall. They were parents and siblings, and someone's child. We need to make sure we do all we can to comfort and support the families whose lives are now forever changed." I'd like to take that one step further; everyone who fights for our country is someone's parent, child, or sibling. None are statistics or numbers. While we need to comfort those who are mourning loss, we also need to support those who are still here. Next time you see a member of the military, please stop and thank them. Shake their hand, and let them know you're grateful. And more than that, stop and listen the next time you hear the national anthem. Show respect to those who have gone, and those who still bravely fight for you.