May 16, 2013 by calamity3039
I am still quite young. Being young means being naive and constantly learning. I am not disgruntled about this at all, in fact I welcome it. I am way too young to be solidified in my beliefs. I really wouldn’t want to be anyway, I still want a new understanding of the world to satisfy my curiosity. My belief structure is still forming, which opens me up to backtracking. It is not something I intend to do, but I would rather have that negative view than be someone who is closed off to new information.
When I first started writing articles less then a month ago I thought I could be anonymous. That I could write about what my ideas were and leave it at that. I knew some people would disagree. I expect nothing less with critical thinking minds. In fact, I knew most of my readers who be highly informed people. I didn’t know the extent that they would want a more personal account of my views. I don’t blame them for this view. Most of the bloggers that I do like are those that are a bit more personal in their writings. I completely let that escape me as I was writing.
I have hinted at being bias about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq before. I didn’t think I needed to elaborate those bias. They are quite personal to me, and though they are still a vivid memory, I didn’t think I needed to be more personal about them. However, I started writing to not only inform others to understand my age group, but to increase an acceptance that young people don’t believe drastically different than the elders of our country. I was wrong. So very wrong, because I hadn’t considered that there may be a difference between the Wars.
I remember very well where I was when 9/11 happened. It was after 9 am and I was in my Sophmore morning Art class. There was a phone call to my Teacher for all students to be watching the news networks immediately. The TV was quickly turned on to FOX news. They were already reporting about the first tower being struck by a plane. There was a reel of that plane hitting the World Trade Center, it seemed like every 30 seconds, as they were scrambling to get more information about what had happen. As students who had just tuned in, before we even got the story about what had really been happening, there was shock. We were now watching live as the second plane zoomed into the second tower. I remember the shock and distress of the new reporters on FOX. It was quite personal for those in the new room as the FOX headquarters was in Times Square. It was quite unreal to feel the shock and the fear of a possible attack with those reporting the story. They were in the heart of New York City as debris from the World Trade Center dust covered the streets.
Immediately in the weeks following we were fighting the War on Terrorism in Afghanistan. My cousin had just got out of basic training for the National Guard. He willingly sign up to go to war as soon as possible. He was going to be a truck driver on what was later named “The Bloody Highway”. He was the first of my family to join the military, but he joined before the 9/11 attacks. My uncle was just graduating basic training as the attack happened. He was only a few years older than I was at the time. He too went to war, but there was a time span between my two family members going into combat.
My grandpa was the male role model for the both of them. He had served in the Air Force and had been released from the military right before the Vietnam War started. He was highly active in the VFW after both went to war. His watch was program at a specific time for when my cousin should have been arriving home. For over a year, until he arrived back safely, my grandpa’s watch would go off at the exact time that he would have otherwise expected my cousin to have returned home from work. The time was a little off seeing as he had actually timed it for the first sounds of my cousin’s Honda motorcycle to be driving down the street, not for the actual time he would be arriving.
Both my uncle and cousin survived multiple tours to the Middle East. Each fought on a different country’s Battlefront. My Uncle actually met his wife in the service. They were both able to be not only stationed at the same military base in Baghdad, but they were apart of the military’s new stance on married couples serving together. They were in the group of the first military service married couples to get to live together while stationed in war.
My bias does not just arise with my own family members serving in the war. Something much more disheartening occurred within then those years that I will be branded with forever. I am branded the same way my mother was branded when she was 5 years old and saw government vehicles pull up in her childhood friend’s drive way during the Vietnam War.
It was March 2003 and I have just rented Ladder 49 which had just been released to DVD. I had only made it half way through the movie before I saw four black government vehicles pull up to the house across the street. I didn’t have time to form a thought or even actually see the government tags on the plates. I instantly started crying for my neighbors. I knew what had happened before I could think it. Her husband and their father was dead. He had been killed in war. His name was Sgt. Rick Kieffer. I still have his obituary and a rose from his memorial service in a scrapbook that I haven’t seen in over 10 years.
I had known him very well. My brother was close friends with his son. We had neighborhood barbeques that he had been the one that was the grill master. We knew he was going to war a few months earlier. He was in the Reserves but had chosen to go to war. He had served during the Gulf War and knew his experiences were needed. His troops had come under attack during a raid. He died because he had made sure he was the last man out. After the troops he was tasked with commanding, had made it out safely, he made a move to escape enemy fire. He was shot through the neck by a sniper.
My town had a population of less then 1,000 people. It was a big deal that one of our servicemen died in battle. I remember the reporters knocking on our door for their story, only to be met with a slammed door in their face. Altogether the towns withing our radius came out for the candlelight vigil. One of my classmates that was a really good signer sang “The wind beneath my wings”. The police from our towns and other neighboring towns formed a human shield around the VFW were his vigil was being held, so reporters couldn’t take pictures or harass any of the mourners. I didn’t go to the funeral. Very few people other then immediate family and close friends went. It was out of respect for them that so few people went to the actual funeral. However, my brother and I went to the graveyard following. We pick up every shell from his salute. Every last shell, it took us awhile to find them all. We were able to give every one of them to his family. Though emotional, they wanted them.
There is still a major generational difference when between Vietnam and the Middle Eastern Wars. For good reason too. The Vietnam War effected a much larger population. Young people in the 1960s protested because their birthdays, could be called up in the draft lottery. My age group had the volunteer Army. Less families and friends were truly effected. For over ten years now America has been at War. Most people do not even notice anymore. Unless it is their kids that are the ones being killed or maimed by IEDs, it is a silent war. America is disturbingly distanced from the battles in the Middle East. Yes, many want the troops to come home. Less than 5,000 troops have been killed in battle. It is still a war and needs to be dealt with properly. Our men need to come home where they are safe.