A Christmas tribute to our Child Soldiers

 

Last year I penned this tribute to our military sons and daughters. They began their service as children and returned never to be the same. I have never re posted a blog before but this is appropriate for those returning from Iraq.

A 2010 Memorial Day Tribute To our Children and a Caution

admin on June 1, 201016 Comments [edit]

Editorial             

As a veteran who served from 1966 to 1968,  I wonder what my fallen comrades would think of our country, our political leaders, and the general direction our country is taking today.

It brings a tear.  I see the same indifference to the lives of those who serve today as the souls who served back in the 60′s.   Back then (Back in the day) I was proud to step forward. I believed in what our political leaders told us.  So did my brother Rick.  And  my parents?  I think so. It was a proud nation. A proud generation. As it turned out, a generation of change.

I thought I was going to serve and protect our country from future aggression. “Protect the world from Communism” I was told.  I didn’t understand the reality of it all until many years later. Its interesting. I didn’t think much of all the protests against the war or the draft dodgers or politicians who put their careers on the line to protest but as I look back I am compelled to wonder who the realist was, me or the war protesters?

Who protested this war, was it our senators, our congressmen, or our President?

In 1966 it was my classmates, the future generation.  Who is protesting now?

The song  phrase “I aint no  Senator’s Son” by JC Fogerty applied to me  and  800,000 other sons.

It is still relevant today.

It’s different now you say. We (Those of us who do not hold a political title) have smartened up  haven’t we. Our children, our babies, are once again coming home in boxes draped with flags or alive  physically and mentally maimed.  Our government is still making loop-hole filled empty promises  to take care of them as they did during Viet Nam .

Our survivors are getting pats  on their backs now as they did in 1968 and those who did not survive received  a piece of metal attached to  red white and blue  ribbons laid on their caskets followed by  empty promises to everyone  to end  the war.

Do not get me wrong. Our men and women  have served proudly. I stand as a guardian. No one should dare tarnish their brave service to me without suffering my wrath.

But as a father now,  I have walked in the shoes of my parents and my parent’s parents.  Did we fail our children? Have we allowed our leaders to send  our children into harms way the same way my parents did during the Viet Nam conflict (War) ?  And did we allow a child’s death for  political decisions like Viet Nam or Iraq or Afghanistan or…….., countries  that have the significance of a flea on a dog?   I think the answer is yes.

Are we becoming  accustomed to war? Are we sheep?  Are we  protesting  immigration laws but not a war that is taking our children and  our future heritage away from us?  What about  our  children? Have we  put them  on the line for sand and oil?  In 1966 parents had nothing to say about whether a person was inducted into the service. It was mandated by our government.

Today we cannot stop our children from entering the call to service on their own. But where is the protest? Where is it hiding?  Are we allowing the people  in government, who’s only loyalty is to big business, to put our children in jeopardy without accountability?

Let us bow our heads at the white stones standing at formation in our National Cemeteries and pay homage.  Let us read the names and honor them. Let us beg for forgiveness. Let us promise them to honor what they have sacrificed.  Let us stop future sacrifice without protest.

Most important, let us hold our leaders responsible for their decisions and their deeds.  It’s not too late for our future generations, our babies.  Our tendency to vote based on  a political party affiliation  rather than on a candidates character should to change.

Those of you who vote purely based on party lines are  taking a huge gamble and your chips are our children, our land, our seas and our future.

JD Benish

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