Letter to the editor
Troops deserved a better welcome home
Every day I see it, I hear it, and I read about it. I think to myself and discuss with our children the reasons for this war and remind them how important it is to “support the troops.” Whether I am “for” the war or against “the war” … “I support the troops.” I know that our American soldiers are doing a job that takes them into harm’s way every day. I know that the military families sacrifice a lot to keep it together when a brother, sister, mother, or father are deployed for months and years.
Our children hear the news, read the news, and listen sometimes to extremely heated family discussions or comments regarding “the war.” We have told our children that no matter where you fall “politically” “support the troops” appreciate your freedom and those whom protect it.
On Sept. 1 our daughter was honored when invited to sing the National Anthem for the 593rd Transportation unit returning home from Iraq. Never in a million years could I ever have imagined that our daughter, or our family would be able to take part in such a special celebration. We had no idea how this event would affect and change our points of view about “supporting the troops.” I feel as though this term “support the troops” has become meaningless to most of us that use it. How many of us actually put action behind these words?
The homecoming event was held in Stead. The place was abuzz with reporters, cameras, and smiling faces. In the front of the auditorium were seats reserved for Senator John Ensign, Senator Harry Reid and Governor Gibbons. Guess who showed up to welcome our 144 soldiers home after being in harm’s way for 18 months. Yes, you guessed it. None of them! They did however manage to send representatives to read a few words thanking this unit for a job well done. Why didn’t these representatives (people we voted for) “support the troops”? Where were they? Not even one!
On Sunday I flipped through the RG-J just knowing that these men and women would be a top priority story. Well there were plenty of entertaining photos from the Burning Man event, and of course there were plenty of photos of people devouring ribs at the rib cook off. There was one small photo, a small black and white, on the top of a page, a young soldier kissing his child. No story. What is going on? I wonder why photos of desert “camping” and BBQ “Kings” have taken precedence over a returning military company. These men and women are doing a job for you – whether you like it or not! (A kudo to the smaller paper, the Nevada Appeal. They ran a small article about this special day.) Have we all become numb to what is going on? Do we as Americans have our priorities in order? Walk the walk and talk the talk otherwise, the words of “support” fall on deaf ears.
I believe that it should be mandatory that every person who has ever used the phrase “I support the troops” should attend a welcome home celebration for our troops. Feel the excitement, feel the love, the appreciation. Listen to families sitting side-by-side sharing stories of the person they have been missing. Listen to the screams of relief when a mother holds her child for the first time in 18 months; watch the joyful tears flow down cheeks. Most importantly, watch the sweet little 4 year old with the curly locks hold her daddy’s hand tightly trying to get his attention while he kisses mommy. Listen to the 4-year-old tell her father, “If I didn’t know this was real today, I would think you were a dream.”
How are you supporting the troops? Think about the words. Think about where you live and how lucky you are. Think about what you do to put meaning into those words. Whether you are for, against, or just confused by this war, please remember that behind every casualty counted there is a family grieving for a person, who chose to serve our country, your country, to serve no matter what or who leads at that time. We the “civilians” have no idea what our military men, women, and families sacrifice in order to keep America free.
Our family is so happy to welcome home the 593rd Transportation unit. Thank you.