Rulers and politicians have a long history of sending soldiers to war for reasons that aren’t all that great. In the case of the US, it’s no different. Our elected officials have sent well meaning enlisted men and women into harm’s way for reasons that were geo-political and not altogether in the United State’s best interest. Perhaps these conflicts were well meaning at the time but then descended into seemingly endless wars.
Today, as all citizens of the US are, I’m reminded to think of the men and women who lost their lives doing what they were told. I’m not however, called on to blindly accept the reason for which they died. Those are separate issues.
When I think of the nonsense of certain wars and the reasons I think or feel may have been warranted for others, I’m sometimes conflicted. I’m proud of our country’s history in protesting certain conflicts. I am proud of our country’s participation in others.
I most often think of WWII when I think of justifiable war. Sheer naked aggression stoked by a mad man and supported via apathy by his citizens led to our undeniable reason to be involved.
I think of the fact that outside of Japan’s direct attack, Germany and the Axis powers did little to provoke the US. Had Japan not attacked a US base on December 7th, 1941 would the States even entered the war? Would we have come to the assistance of Britain, France, and other countries?
When our men and women fought and our country’s citizens sacrificed and died, they did so for the sake of global freedom.
They did so for families of Jewish descent and heritage, for Czechs, for Poles, for innocent German’s, Italians, Swiss, Russians, Swedes, Dutch, Greeks, Southeast Asians, and more.
We then made good on our promises to help them by marshaling resources, literally via a plan to rebuild those countries. We began again to trade with them, bond with them, build global supply chains with them, build space stations with them, solve global problems with them, and train them at our universities and in our military branches of service. We also sent diplomats to them so as to build lasting relationships.
Our men and women, didn’t die just for those of us privileged enough to be citizens of the United States. They died for the global community. In this writer’s opinion, it is the same global community that we now find ourselves at risk of losing thanks to the very nationalism that stoked the outbreaks of past conflicts.
Today, I choose to remember who died, why so many died, and for whom they died.
Sherman G. Mohr, Proud US and Global Citizen.