The other day, I wrote for my blog a fictional story called “The Life and Death of a Soldier” and it was published on OpEdNews.com. I received a comment coming from someone who is going through this in real life. Real life stories trump fictional ones any day of the week.It reminded me of a piece once written by me for Buzzflash.com called, “Our Memorial Day Shoah to Support our Troops” and in my response back to my reader, I stated in part, “Perhaps if we were to keep calling, emailing, faxing the names of real soldiers and what their family life is like, it may be our answer. That is because these politicians will no longer look at them in an abstract way, but as real flesh and blood people with those who do love them.”
Thank you,Mary MacElveen!
May 17, 2005 Our Memorial Day Shoah to Support Our Troops
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
If you are not familiar with the term Shoah, it is an organization started by director Steven Spielberg shortly after he made Schindler’s List. This story chronicles the bravery of one man whose name was Oskar Schindler who saved the lives of many Jews during the Holocaust. Mr. Spielberg decided to bring these victims and survivors stories alive so that they would not be seen as just mere statistics, but as real live people, so that we could get a better understanding of what life was like back in that time. As I stated earlier, he started this organization just after the movie wrapped so that survivors of this nightmare in history could tell their stories in the hopes of such a tragedy never happening again.
In our daily travels, we see those magnetic decals on cars which state “Support Our Troops.” I am always left asking myself many questions: Do we know their names, much less their stories? Do we truly know what their life is like over in those war torn countries? Do many Americans actually care to get to know these brave men and women?
Many of us do know the statistics of those killed in these wars and those numbers can become abstracts that hinder us all from doing anything about it. But, if we were to know them and relay their stories, it may be the turning point in this horror. That is where you and I come into play and in honor of those already fallen in past wars and these present ones I want us to start our American Shoah by telling their stories. So that we get to know each of them by their name, how they are living and what their fears are.
You may be asking yourself, but how do I seek out someone who has a loved one overseas? They are in your communities, churches and work places. Or by happenstance, they may present themselves to you in a busy shopping mall which happened to me today. Take time to speak with them, ask how their loved one is doing and what their name is. Please tell them that you would like to write to you elected officials on their behalf so that they do know of these servicemen and women’s experiences overseas. If they do not want their names to be given out for privacy reasons or for their safety, respect that and just simply state, I met someone whose son or daughter is overseas and I want to tell you a little about them. I want these elected officials to know who they are and that they are not just a number. You are their Shoahs. I would love nothing more than to see in honor of these servicemen and women for their stories to be told by Memorial Day in hopes that in the near future we can bring them home for good.
Below is my Shoah where I will send it by fax to my elected representatives in the senate and in the house. Out of respect, safety and privacy of this serviceman’s mom, I will not use her real name. By the way, I was horrified and almost in tears as I listened to her.
To Senator Charles Schumer, To Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, To Congressman Timothy Bishop, May 15, 2005
Today, I met a very brave woman who opened up her heart to me and let me in to her world so that I can better understand her hopes and her fears. I will call her Linda since I will not give out her real name out of respect for her and the safety of her son who is presently serving over in Afghanistan. She would not even give out her son’s real name for what I took as a fear of reprisal. So, I will call him Jarod. What gets me is that they would have to fear the reprisal of their government for speaking out and telling the truth.
Jarod is a twenty year old man and was sent over to Afghanistan without a first aid kit and without a proper gun. The gun he was given was filthy and not properly adjusted to personally meet his line of sight. The gun that he was given was a grenade launcher and he did not even know if it worked and he was not trained to use such a gun. So, how is this protecting him? Or does he just become another statistic to those who have died already? Here is also what I find to be reprehensible since we live in what is supposed to be a free country where service to our country at this present point is an all volunteer force. Jarod was told that at the end of his service he must reenlist or face punishment. I find that to be unconscionable since he has already given so much already. He has faced dangers that you and I in our worst nightmare have never faced.