That's what a female disc jockey said this afternoon on the radio after she played the song "A Soldier's Silent Night" "It's easy to forget about the soldiers, so you should take pause and think about them during the holidays", she said. At first glance it probably sounds thoughtful, but I found her comment offensive and sadly true and it stabbed me in the heart.
It *is* easy for people to forget about the soldiers and their families. The soldiers serving and the families of servicemembers who have been killed in Iraq are making the biggest sacrifice during this time of war and we can neither forget nor would we choose to.
I won't be hanging a stocking again this year and likely never again. Without Ken's stocking, mine would look kind of lonely and it is just another reminder that he and I will never celebrate Christmas or any other occasion together ever again. Were it not for people like me and other Gold Star family members speaking out, it might be easy to forget about the soldiers all the time.
When we speak out, we touch people's heart and maybe their conscience. You can see it in an audience's eyes when they "get it", if they hadn't already gotten it before they heard us speak. Sometimes we see tears and sadness and sometimes we see anger, but always people leave having been touched by the war and our words. That is important because before the 2004 pesidential election, too many people said "I haven't been touched by the war, so I'll be voting on gays, guns or god (you choose)". If people haven't been touched by the war, then it is easy to forget about the soldiers and then it is easy to forget that there really is a war going on in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We know this administration hasn't been touched by the war because they refuse to acknowlege details and deaths and sacrifices. But, the reason so many people haven’t been touched is because this administration doesn’t want us to see the human cost of this war. They won’t let us see the flag draped caskets as they return to America, as if there are none.
The reason we haven’t been touched is that this administration refuses to acknowledge the financial costs of this war. They say they can’t possibly calculate the costs of the war so they cannot include it in a regular budget- there are too many unknowns. Instead, they submit one supplemental budget after another. They think we aren’t smart enough to see how much money is being spent. They thought we wouldn’t be touched by the war because the fiscal 2005 budget for the Dept of Veterans Affairs was based on outdated assumptions from 2002- 1 full year before the war began and before we had any idea the casualties and injuries would be so devastating. Sadly, they were off by about 2.6 BILLION dollars. Oops- let’s ask Congress for more money- it’s easy!
GW has not attended a single funeral for any of the service members who have been killed. He meets with families of soldiers’ families who have been killed, but only those hand selected to insure they agree with his policies. He has not gone to Dover AFB to honor those soldiers he returns to their families in a flag covered casket. Rumsfeld couldn’t be bothered to sign condolence letters to the 1st 1300 families- a machine signed those letters. I have one of those letters and do I feel special!
Does this sound like an administration that has any emotional involvement in this war? This administration has not been touched by this war. But I have and I'm feeling a bit testy these days; I'm sure you understand.