A certain phrase has been bothering me. It is a sentence that seems to manage it’s way into every comment section of any news story. It’s a minimizing phrase. It’s ignorant, offensive, and ill-intended. Today, the state of Texas has their flags at half-mast. It’s in honor of a fallen military hero that we all know as Chris Kyle. I think it is inarguable that Chris Kyle served his country and that he served his country well. And, not just once. He served our country on 4 different tours to Iraq. People may disagree on certain parts of his story or whether or not he deserves his own day but, I think any reasonable person has to agree that he was very much an American soldier. That alone makes him a hero in my eyes.
I found myself reading the comments under the story about Chris Kyle Day. Amateur mistake, I know. I know better than to allow myself to go there, however, while I was there I saw that same comments I always see when reading an article about our police.
“He signed up for it.”
“He knew what was at risk when he enlisted.”
“It’s his job. I don’t get a day for doing my job.”
And, I can’t disagree with them. Stick with me here. I haven’t completely lost my mind or sold my morality to the highest bidder. If you think about it, no matter how ignorant their comments are, they are right. Our soldiers and our officers do sign up for it. It is their job. And, furthermore, they do it all while knowing the risks that come along with it. The difference between me and the minimizer dwelling in the comments section is that I actually appreciate their sacrificial willingness.
I’m not sure where the sideline quarterbacks with a keyboard decided it was okay to use their freedom of speech to attack those who preserve it by fighting for it abroad. And, they absolutely do have that right. It’s just unfortunate to me that people aren’t utilizing that in a positive manner. Can you imagine a world where everyone used their freedom of speech to positively engage in a productive dialog? Me either. Social Media has closed the gap on all hope for repairing our relationships between one another. Why do we want to bring them down? Why do we want to chisel away at the ones who represent the vast majority of who they are by demeaning their sacrifice? Why would we ever want them to feel isolated and alone? All we are doing by allowing this to happen, America, is asking them to no longer sign up because the sacrifice is no longer worth it.
Personally, I think it’s because there is a large sum of people who lack any conviction or calling. Or maybe their calling is to be a thorn of negativity without solution. My only request to them is that they will choose to dream bigger. Use their society-given networking powers for good instead of evil and division. We can no longer afford to keep dividing. We can no longer afford to minimize and criminalize the sacrifice of those who were brave enough to sign up to protect us. Whether you are in law enforcement or military, you signed up for the job because it’s who you are. I appreciate you. So many others appreciate you, too.
I am able to write this to you from the comfort of my cozy desk because you signed up for it. I am able to say thank you for all that you do because your willingness to bravely fight for us. And even though it is your job, you didn’t have to do that. You could have chosen to be a citizen with a relatively normal life. You could have been a citizen quarterbacking from the comfort of your own home. You signed up for the front line. I’ll never undermine or devalue your sacrifice. I’ll simply just say “thank you.” Thank you for signing up for it even though you knew the risk and the consequences. Thank you for being noble and courageous when the rest of us can choose to run and hide.
We have a lot to be thankful for these days. We have a lot of good men and women out there serving and protecting us. You can say that you pay their salary and buy their uniforms all that you want. That doesn’t take away from what they are actually doing for us. Try showing them some gratitude. Try seeing them for humans that made an extraordinary sacrifice for your freedom and safety instead of a political agenda.
It’s simple. Because they signed up for it, you don’t have to. If that doesn’t warrant your “thank you”, I’m not sure you can grasp sacrifice at all. “The Signed Up For It” is a lousy excuse to minimize and demonize someone’s sacrifice. If you’re taking part in that dialog well, shame on you. While we are all arguing about whether or not he should have had his own day, the real world is still happening. Evil is still taking place. Arguing about it isn’t going to help combat that fact. The real American tragedy is the division amongst her people. It most certainly isn’t because of the Chris Kyles of this world. Thank you for your service, Soldiers. You have our support.
Until Next Time.