In a magazine I was reading the other day there is a picture of young Marine in Afghanistan, being carried away on a litter with both of his legs blown off. The look on his face is somewhere between bewilderment and pain. The article went on to say the young man mercifully survived his injuries. For a lot of us we just look at the picture and turn the page. The price we pay for war. For me I can’t help dwelling on what his life is going to be like from here on. There will be immense pain and long hours of rehabilitation learning to walk on two steel pegs the rest of his life. Then comes the long hours spent sitting and wishing he could lead a more normal life.
For a while the accolades will pour in, and pick him up when he is down. He will get medals for his actions and be the toast of the town. But like all heroes he will soon be forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind they say. There will be so many things he will never be able to do like people with healthy legs and the frustration will be tremendous. There will be a lot of time to sit and think, was it all worth it? Heroes tend to be tied to their actions and someday when we sneak out of Afghanistan like we are doing in Iraq — and did in Vietnam -- and nothing has really been accomplished, the glory of it all, soon goes away and he is left to sit and wonder.
“War is hell,” General Sherman said. Most of us do our best to stay out of hell. To bad our leaders don’t do their best to stay out of war.