Support is More Than Words

For many Americans, “supporting the troops” is an abstract concept, a broad statement referring to a vague obligation that is easily fulfilled with a $2.99 magnetic ribbon from the corner gas station. Slap it on the back of your vehicle, and you’re an official troop supporter-whatever that is, and minus the decoder ring. It doesn’t require any kind of real commitment, no debate skills, no standing up and taking fire from your liberal neighbors. Above all, it doesn’t require you to see or hear anything that might disturb the relatively pleasant rat race that is life in America: going to the mall, talking on your cell phone while impatiently waiting for the light to change, or grilling steaks and hoisting a beer with friends.

This is not support.

A select few Americans truly understand what “supporting the troops” means-and most of them have paid for it themselves in some form or another. Behind the bumper stickers and patriotic shirts, past taking off your hat at the start of a baseball game or going to the Memorial Day parade, there is an ethos, a mentality, a code of conduct. Supporting the troops means understanding the incredible gift you were given, the beautiful ideal that was offered you on the flag-draped casket of a man who you will never meet-who chose to die for you.

It is more than complaining to the television during the news-it is holding your legislators responsible for foolish decisions and laws that tie the hands of the troops and cost lives.

It is more than parroting the words “Thanks for your service” to a veteran while trying not to look at the place where his arm or leg once was.

It is more than words. It is a way of life.

Supporting the troops means living your life in a manner that is worthy of their death. It means ensuring, every minute of every day, that the words you speak, the actions you take, the beliefs you hold, are ones that honor them and honor the freedom they have provided to you. It means carrying yourself proudly, ethically, and with purpose.

It means never backing down, never giving up, never quitting. It means taking the time to make a difference in someone’s life-after all, did a soldier not make a difference in yours?

It means teaching your children that places like Normandy, Iwo Jima, and Bastogne are sacred, almost holy phrases that encompass all that we are and all that we must remain. It means getting off your chair and doing your part-whether that be reading to a double amputee fresh from the dusty hell of Iraq, packing granola bars into a box to be sent to the front, or just not ignoring those who are ignorant any longer. How many times have we all just sighed and rolled our eyes when we hear “I support the troops but not the war?”

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing or say nothing.

Supporting the troops means loving your country enough to live for her, to be willing to do whatever, wherever, and for however long it takes to ensure that the Marines whose blood stained an enemy’s bayonet at Belleau Wood died for something more than your next Starbucks latte. We owe them that.

At least.

[Note: The following would have been my entry into the Soldier’s Mind essay contest. However, for integrity’s sake, I am not entering the contest. I will simply post it here.]

-by Kit Jarrell 4/14/07

{Thank you Kit for putting it into words. Thank you Pat and Babs for Sharing that.}



Posted in family support, support the troops, Veterans, wounded warrior. Comments Off on Support is More Than Words
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