Republican, Democrat, or fill in the blank- much of the country was glued to the television for President Obama’s speech last night. And because my husband’s future (and therefore, our family’s future) could depend on what was said, I listened to every word.
There was one part of the president’s speech that struck me the most. He quoted a member of the military who recalled September 11th. “One soldier summed it up well. ‘The message,’ he said, ‘is we don’t forget. You will be held accountable, no matter how long it takes.’ Maybe, but all I could think was this: will we be forgotten?
It’s already happened in Iraq. When the announcement came that the troops would be withdrawn by August of this year, the country breathed a collective sigh of relief. According to Reuters, there are still 47,000 American troops there. While the news stories seem to focus on Afghanistan of late, I fear the general public may not understand how many families are still missing their spouses, siblings, and children. Not one of those 47,000 should be taken for granted or ignored.
Afghanistan is even more personal to me, because my husband and brother both spent nearly a year in that mountainous, sandy place. I recall all too well hearing IEDs exploding in the background while talking with them. I was shaking after the first time they echoed in my ears, but it’s something they must have head all too often. And unfortunately, announcing to the world that we are beginning a withdrawal does not tie everything up in a pretty bow. There is still gunfire there tonight. War does not stop and start so easily. War does not end with a speech.
I don’t hang my hope on any politician’s promises- to do so would be foolish. But President Obama later in said in his speech, “To our troops, our veterans and their families, I speak for all Americans when I say that we will keep our sacred trust with you.”
To all Americans, I would simply beg this of you; please keep that trust. Do not forget us now.
We have never forgotten you.