The Knock on the Door

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Somewhere, someplace in America, a family has received the knock on the door notifying them that their loved one lost his or her life in service to this country. Somewhere, someplace in America, a family has received the knock on the door notifying them that their loved one lost his or her life in service to this country.

by Donna Teresa, Staff Writer 

Left, a war widow sleeps by her husband's coffin as a soldier stands watch over her and his friend's body.

While many are preoccupied with news about Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Anna Nicole Smith, etc., the American military has tragically lost more than 3,800 soldiers in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. People seem to be more interested in who got voted off "American Idol" or "Dancing with the Stars," than caring about someone dying in the Middle East.

Most disturbing was the news of veterans asking that their states fly the American flag half-staff in honor of our war dead, to get the same attention given to those who perished in the Virginia Tech incident. I was astonished to hear some Americans saying that they didn't want their flag being flown at half-staff for military people, because it meant the flag might remain at half-staff for long periods due to the many casualties of this war…

     

In addition, many people have made remarks that our military people know the risk of death in war, and it is the job they signed up for.

Well, veterans asked me what I thought about the flag issue. Here's what I think. I would be so honored to see my flag fly at half-staff knowing that some courageous and brave American would be willing to die for this country, no questions asked.

Yes, they know that is the chance they take when they volunteer to serve in the military, but I would hope their fellow Americans would have the respect and decency to honor them in death. Keeping the flag at half-staff should serve as a reminder to all of us about the great sacrifices our military men and women are facing every day, and about what a great tragedy war is.

America has been asked to sacrifice nothing for this war. Perhaps that explains the insensitive disconnect of civilians about this conflict. We can disagree and have our opinions about this war, but is it too much to ask to show some respect and compassion for our fallen?

When the Virginia Tech tragedy happened, college campuses all over America showed their support to the families of those who lost their lives, and rightfully so. I just wish the same support and tribute would be given to our young men and women who are dying almost every day in this war. This volunteer military is the reason there is no draft and why college students across the country have the privilege of being able to sit in a classroom instead of dodging bullets and bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Do military deaths have less significance because they occur in an unpopular war? Let us not repeat a history of disrespect, as in Vietnam, by not honoring them at their death. They do not create the war policy in America.

With Memorial Day behind us, I hope you will think about what this day means to the families of the fallen. Their day is filled with loss not just on Memorial Day, but every day. California has suffered the highest number of casualties, having lost 388 lives. Was the California flag lowered 388 times in every California town or city? Probably not, but let us not wait for others to do the right thing. No one deserves the honor more than our fallen war veterans.

About the Author:  Donna Teresa ia staff writer for VeteransToday.com.  She can be reached at [email protected].


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