“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” – Douglas MacArthur
I feel blessed in life to see more support for our troops than disdain. I see more support for spouses, such as myself, than rebuke. It isn’t often that words of hate cross my path. But even when it does, it doesn’t make it any easier or less hurtful when they do. In the last several days I have seen this image shared on my newsfeed:
I can’t say this young lady’s thoughts inspire butterflies and rainbows. Hard and fast anger may be a more appropriate feeling. I looked up her Facebook page wanting to see if I could delve further into who she is; having such scathing and careless thoughts. My anger changed as I saw the comments left on her not so private page. Veterans slamming into her with hate, malice, and soul-crushing anger. Spouses pledging their love for their soldier by telling her to “go kill herself.”
What she said made me angry – beyond angry. It made my blood boil and my bones harden. She is wrong. Without question, one-hundred-percent, she is wrong. But hate cannot combat hate. Hate doesn’t change opinions, minds, or hearts. No good can come from malice and ignorance aimed at the source.
Those who know me, will tell you that before I ever met my husband (who will reach his sixteenth year of service in just a couple of months), that these same words could have come from my own mouth many years ago. Maybe not as extreme, maybe not as harsh, but just as ignorant, just as naïve, just as harmful.
We live in an age where a single act can spread across the globe. Carelessness holds a much greater cost. We are accountable for our reaction just as much as she is accountable for typing such hate. If I could speak to her, I’d say, I hope some day you learn what it is to be entirely selfless. To understand what it is to love beyond yourself. I didn’t know better before I entered into this life. I was once almost like you, as shaming as it is to admit. You and I were once the same. I don’t hate you. By looking at your page, I can see how you seem to relish in the hate being slung at you. It proves your point, doesn’t it? That we are demanding your glory? Your gratitude? Hate all too often breeds hate.
War is a horrible, horrible thing. But those of us who lace up the boots or deeply love someone who does, know that peace is really our focus. Avoiding war at all costs is what we want. Those who enter into battle most value peace. The families they leave behind pray and hope for a different world.
We do not live in a world that can sit down and talk it out. We do not live in a world where weapons have no value and hatred does not exist. War is a terrible thing and those who enter it do not leave it feeling “heroic”. Ask my husband if he is a hero. Ask him. Ask any honorable citizen of this nation that wears a blue ribbon around his neck with the five-point-star, the Medal of Honor, if they are a hero. Not one, not one, will tell you they feel like a hero.
As the spouse of a soldier who joined at the age of seventeen, signing his life over to his nation, I will tell you, he is my hero. I have been honored learning who these men and women are. I have been inwardly humbled to know the pain they carry, the choices they make, and the reason in which they “choose” (and you are so right, they choose) to enter into battle if necessary.
They don’t want your “thanks”, your gratitude, or your “glory” as you said. What is heroic is their ability to see such ignorance, and to choose to defend you anyway. These men and women don’t want your “thank you”, but by God, they are worthy of your respect.
These men and women are tired, they are worn, but they continue. They step up and say “send me”, so that no one will ever be forced to do the same. They choose to so that people like you do not have to. At the very minimum, understand that.
If we were to say “no” to war, what would stop the enemy from saying “yes”? What world would we live in, if war came to our shores? It is the soldier who above all else values peace. It is the soldier who will, above all, value the lives of this nation.