Two young people. Two guns pointed at each other. This isn't Broadway. One of them may not be getting up after this encounter. Each one is compelled by orders to shoot. Each one of them has a family, a friend, a lover somewhere at home — wherever that may be. One of them will not have them at the end of that encounter.
And so this scenario goes on — in 2012 and beyond. The fact that we have such a diverse body of people on this planet and still continue to settle some of our disputes this way would seem hard to imagine. But when I think of the many young people in this country and the world that are forced to settle a dispute of national leaders and priorities in this manner, I can hardly find a current cause worthy of putting them at the front of death's way. Bin Laden? C'mon — he robbed this country of countless young people with 21 box cutters. Iraq — well, we never did find those WMD's did we? The cause should always be questioned when it risks our most valuable possessions — our people, family and loved ones.
But in this very intertwined world, when we take the life of another — are we really justified or even smarter in doing so? Is the ruination of anyone's son or daughter worth the cause? This isn't to say that at times in history and lives their wasn't a cause just enough — but in 2012 and beyond — have we become any smarter in evaluating this life altering decision? Every life is valuable. American or otherwise.
There is no greater hero, in my mind, than those soldiers in Iraq or Afganistan. Standing guard or walking a street of open windows and apartments — well if that doesn't change your life nothing will. I am glad many have come home. I am still upset that so many are still there. I am humbled by their dedication and service. Bring them home. In my eyes, this cause is not just enough to shed blood or tears. They are heroes and celebrities. You want a fair tax — let every Wall Street Banker and Detroit auto exec who was bailed out have to support or hire returning soldiers from these wars.
The greatest tribute we can have to our past soldiers who have died for us is to make sure it never happens again. To the families and friends of those who have perished, my thanks could never convey my gratitute. To those long gone, whose shoulders we have stood upon to make this the greatest, most peaceful nation on the planet — I hope we can one day make you proud.