Warriors' Voices: A New Column Coming to the semo.net Homepage

Sep 20, 2007

If you are anything like me, you go about your business in life not having the slightest notion, from personal experience, what all is involved in ensuring that no armed threat from beyond our borders prevents you from doing just that: going about your business.

dennissalute.jpgSometimes we may unwittingly fail to see our own inexorable link to the U.S. soldier in the field in a time of war. We may fail to see our connection to that soldier’s effort; to that person’s ability to perform at peak readiness; to that person’s ability to remain clear, with greater ease, on why he or she might have traveled so far from home for such life-threatening hardship, with so little tangible reward.

Many without military experience find it hard to acknowledge that their stable, self-determined American existence does not come without a military component. That the trained U.S. combatant willing to encounter—or to exhibit—what is essentially repellent in man may be all that ensures we ourselves will not have to do so, or die trying. Without this understanding, it is particularly challenging to see our relationship to the American soldier in the war zone for what it is, and what it can be.

soldier_kid2.jpgAmericans may openly question the rightness of a given military initiative. But where it is impossible to achieve total unity of thought, civility and sincerity in word and deed on the homefront are worth striving for, no matter how stunningly diverse or unwieldy our population may be. Keeping ever in our consciousness the soldier under fire can aid us greatly in achieving this end.

Semo.net is preparing a new column intended to heighten community awareness of our link to the American soldier, to help strengthen support for our service members in Iraq and Afghanistan through increased understanding of their plight.

explosionbehindsoldier.jpgSome may equate support for our soldiers with support for a war they themselves oppose. I would offer a different perspective: I would suggest that in dealing with the brutal reality of this very moment where the conflict rages, our one common priority is indeed the welfare of our people directly in harm’s way. There are ways we can perceive and communicate, and energies we can put forth from where we stand which may be of help to them in a time of grave difficulty. Girded with a clearer picture of their experiences and concerns, we might find we have something new to offer as the homefront discussions continue, something new to add to our own prayers and meditations.

In following this series you will be happy to know that it is not my own inadequate voice you will be hearing on the subject of the war, but rather the voices of the men and women who make a commitment relatively few can fully comprehend: You’ll hear from the soldiers themselves, Americans who have traveled from southeast Missouri into the heart of virtually unrelenting chaos a world away.

Quite naturally, Washington has means and responsibility for making its own position known regarding this conflict. The press is a channel for the dissemination of multiple viewpoints. There are hearings. There is posturing. There are protests. Heated arguments arise around water coolers, dinner tables, and in barber shops throughout the country.

neverforget-01.PNGAnd somewhere, far from this steady flurry of stateside activity and deliberation, stand officers and enlisted personnel tasked with attaining military objectives delineated by the U.S. Commander-in-Chief. In accepting this task, they place secondary importance, at most, upon the preservation of their own lives. Where and when do we hear from them?

It is ironic that our soldiers fight, at least in part, to safeguard the American dissenter’s right to dissent—about a war, or all war, or anything under the sun a red-blooded Yank might care to oppose. Our remarkably daring national Constitution ensures that the American experiment will be characterized by this tense irony for as long as we endure.

But “Warriors’ Voices” endeavors to offer something for our community that is not intrinsically related to dissent, agreement, or debate. It is a thing you may find challenging to locate through other sources. Here, the drill will go something like this: SEMO soldiers talk. Everybody else listens.

And who can say what uncommon developments may be born of this process? Please stay tuned to these pages for the October launch of “Warriors’ Voices” at the semo.net homepage, and let’s find out together.

If you would like to submit the name of a person for a possible profile in this column, please contact us at articles@semo.net.