We often hear about casualties in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But so often, all we hear are the numbers. Some use those numbers as a political cudgel to beat their opponents over the head. Others simply, honestly bemoan the loss of so much life. Still others seem to feel our lost warriors are hapless victims, fed into the maw by an uncaring nation for ends either vague or nefarious.
But the fact is each and every fallen hero is a warrior by choice. When I was a recruiter, I learned there were many reasons why people joined the service. In those peaceful days, very few people joined expressly for the pride of serving their country. But even then, it was almost always an important influence on their decision to enlist.
We older folks often bemoan the youth of today. But many young people instinctively feel a need to be a part of something larger than just themselves. They grasp, at some level, that they have been blessed with opportunities that many throughout history could not even imagine. People find different ways of paying this debt. Many join churches, or social service organizations. Others become politically active. And some join the military.
Every unit in the Army tries to inculcate this sense of being part of a larger picture. Morale and esprit de corps are the terms used. But it basically an acknowledgement by the members of a unit that, while they as individuals have great worth to the unit, they also have an obligation to that unit.
We’ve come to know quite a few people during our time on the blogosphere, and through them, learn of others. AW1 Tim brings us the story of a family friend, Andrew Small. Nearly four years ago, Andrew was faced with a terrible situation. His squad was pinned down by Taliban fire during an ambush. Casualties were mounting, and his squad looked like it would be wiped out. Private First Class Andrew Small, B Co., 1st Bn., 32nd IN, 10th Mountain Div., exposed himself to enemy fire in order to lay suppressive fires upon the Taliban. His display of conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity helped save the lives of his fellow soldiers. And cost him his own.
And as you go about your day, or lay your head to rest tonight, please remember to say a prayer for Andrew Small, his family and loved ones, and all those American Soldiers who strive so hard today and every day to make the world a little better.