Another slightly different post. Today, prior to a funeral service, I had the good fortune of speaking with two US Army soldiers that were in attendance to offer military honors for the deceased veteran. When a veteran of any branch of the US military dies, the country honors them with at the very least, the playing of Taps, folding and presentation of the US Flag, eligibility to be buried in a National Cemetery and a marker for their grave. As your rank and amount of service increases so do your benefits, but this is not where I'm heading today.
One of the two was a 21 year old man from the Midwest, stationed at a local Army Base and the other was a 20 year old man from Texas with roots in Mexico also from the same base. They had both been deployed to Afghanistan at the same time but were in different units until fate brought the two of them together due to a shortage of men in one of the two units. Being the inquisitive person that I am, I of course started asking questions of them both, trying to determine why they were in the military. I asked what it was that they did and learned that they were both paratroopers who specialized in seeking out bombs. I asked questions that were specifically aimed at "why" we are there in the first place. I was secretly hoping to hear (directly from 2 men that had seen the killings of war) some sort of feedback that would give me proof that what I have heard over and over was true;we don't belong there.
To my surprise both of them told me that we were in fact making a difference in the lives of the Afghanistan people that was truly for the better. They had been there for almost two years and told me that they literally saw a betterment even though the Taliban was still hiding under almost every rock they overturned. They were aware that there are some people who don't want our help but the vast majority of the population does. Perhaps this was a way for them to justify what they do or maybe it's been drilled into their heads to believe this but then again perhaps it's really true, I would like to believe the latter. No matter what the case these two gentlemen are this country's first line of defense against the enemy and I had to shake their hands and thank them for all that they do for us. It was a true pleasure to meet 2 of our heroes today.