But we are all also somewhat distant from our soldiers. We kind of have this vague notion that they are out there, somewhere dangerous and foreign, representing and defending our country. We are too often unaware of what our soldiers are facing. I don't think this lack of awareness is intentional. For one, the clear-cut wars of old seem to be a thing for the history books. From Korea on our, all of our wars have been asymmetrical in nature--wars not against another nation-state, but against an ideology--Communism early on, and terror, more recently. There hasn't been a clear cut enemy that we could all unite against and clearly defeat. Also, after Vietnam, ours has been all-volunteer army. The ordinary citizen no longer has reason to feel "that soldier could be me. " The modern soldier is like a police-officer or fire fighter, a man or woman working in his or her chosen field, rather than a citizen soldier plucked from civilian life and placed on the front lines of battle,. All of this adds to our sense of disconnection from those who serve in our military. We are blithely unaware of what they are doing or the sacrifices they are called upon to make.
We tend to think of those sacrifices as that which ends in a flag-draped casket and solemn graveside service. But I sometimes wonder if there is an even higher price to pay for those who come home physically alive but wounded in body and spirit. It would be presumptuous of me to speak with any kind of authority on what these men and women go through. But I think it's important even if I don't understand what they've been through to be aware, to look for ways to serve those who served us, to give back to those who have given so much. Some will sneer that doing push-ups doesn't help anyone--and they are right. But if over the past 22 days I've prompted anyone to do something: to give money, to reach out to a veteran they know, then it hasn't been "just doing push-ups." Let the people most annoyed by another internet challenge fad be the first to make a real difference by donating their time or resources. My goal hasn't been to make you do push-ups, my goal has been to draw attention to an issue, that will hopefully spark you to action.
Here's an organization, Disabled American Veterans, that I'm lending my support to I invite you to do the same, or find another reputable organization you can get involved with that is working to support our veterans.