I was sitting with my, soon to be, eleven year-old daughter last night watching the “So You Think You Can Dance” finale. She and I both love watching these amazingly creative and outstandingly talented people pour their hearts out in every movement they make simply for the pure joy of entertaining and touching our hearts. Then came the interruption of the program as President Obama made his address to the United States concerning the horrific events taking place in Syria and our possible military involvement. It reminded me of when I was sitting at my grandmother’s watching something on television and the first President Bush interrupted the program declaring war in the Persian Gulf. I wasn’t much older than my daughter at the time. I remember the fear that settled in as he spoke those words and the multitudes of questions I barraged my grandmother with. My greatest fear was whether or not our own family members were going to be called to war. At that time, we didn’t have any family active in the military. But we have a long line of men that have served and witnessed the horrors. My fathers’ father was an ambulance driver in World War II. My mother’s father served in the army during the Korean war. Neither of which I was ever aware of until my late teens. I knew they were in the military, but the wars were never spoken of. I grew up sheltered from the horrors of war. All I knew of was what we had studied in school and the images from movies of past wars.
My parents grew up during the Vietnam war. In fact, every generation before me knew the impact of war that I never understood. Thank God the Gulf War did not last long and we moved forward to living in relative peace. I moved forward to adulthood, marriage, and motherhood. September 11, 2001 began as every other day. My husband and I worked at the same little factory. We dropped our son off at daycare. He was three at the time and the light of my life. I’ll never forget sitting in my office, half listening to the radio as I worked when the announcement came on saying that a plane had crashed into the side of one of the World Trade Center buildings. I’ve never been to New York, I had no idea what buildings they were talking about. I remember thinking it was a horrible accident and I said a prayer for the victims. Never once thinking it was anything beyond an accident. Then it was followed by the second plane and the real horror began to set in. I rushed out of my office to tell my husband and, like me, he didn’t realize the full impact of the situation. As the fear coursed through our nation with known hijacked planes still in the air, all I thought of was my son and getting to him as quickly as I possibly could.
We forced ourselves to continue on in our daily lives while the people of New York, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon endured a nightmare only those that witnessed first hand will ever fully comprehend. Then came the next President Bush declaring war once again. Only this time, there was no program interrupted because we were all glued to the news coverage with hopes and prayers of some good news of survivors being pulled from the rubble. The declaration of war was still frightful, but it was overwhelmed by the sense of retribution and anger towards those that could do something so senseless and horrific. Our children poured into the military recruiters offices with this rage coursing through their blood. For the first time, my generation fully understood the meaning of sacrifice.
Since that moment, our country and our allies have been pouring our youth into two separate wars. We have witnessed regime changes with the assistance of our country and allies. And for what? Egypt is now a lawless region full of murderers killing people simply because they don’t share the same religion. Pillagers are destroying museums filled with priceless artifacts found during excavations funded by people and organizations from all over the world. The region is supposedly the cradle of humanity. Now it is nothing more than a cradle of insanity and murderous rage. The horrifying regimes we overthrew are now replaced with an even worse horror.
Now we face another horror in Syria. Images of men, women, and children lying dead fill our screens once again. As a country that thrives on the passion for freedom and peace to all mankind, we feel the responsibility to do something to stop these unimaginable horrors. But we take caution because every step we have taken has not resulted in anything remotely close to peace or freedom for anyone. It simply feels as if we are tightening the noose that threatens our own. We now face a reality where there is no right or wrong answer. Do nothing and the horrors will continue. Attack and face the repercussions of possibly releasing the holds on something even more frightening.
As a Christian, I look to my bible for comfort and answers. I pray when I cannot find the answers I need. I struggle with patience and faith. Anyone that has studied the Holy Bible knows that times such as these have been prophesied. Everything that was once mocked in the bible and deemed impossible is now possible. Human kind possesses weapons that can destroy our precious world. The more the anger and hate is fueled around this world, the closer we come to those realities. It is not my intention to preach. There are similar prophesies shared in almost every religion around the world. We live in a day and age where the importance of the material and physical world far exceeds that of the spiritual world. People openly mock the idea of our possessing spirits in the first place, let alone the concept of there being a supreme being. This idealism is fueled by the fact that it is people using their manipulated version of religion as their reason for continuing these acts of malicious hatred.
There is one truth that stands above all when it comes to fighting any war. You simply cannot win a war unless you possess a strength that is equal or greater than your enemies. We are fighting enemies that use tactics that no weapon can prevent. We are dealing with people that find no value in human life, not even their very own. They look beyond this world to an afterlife filled with treasure equated to the sacrifices they make in this life. This form of faith leaves no room for sympathies in which can be used for diplomacy. There is no sympathy, there is no fear. If there is no fear there is reason to bow down to another.
If we are to succeed against this enemy, we must fight with the same drive that feeds the drive of our enemies. You cannot fight evil with evil. It only perpetuates the evil. These people will continue to fight whether they have a weapon in their hand or not. They kill indiscriminately. This is not a war to gain material or worldly benefits. Our government has insisted this is not a war of religion. But to our enemies it is. They have had no qualms when it comes to making that more than clear to the entire world. If we are to succeed in the war that continues to grow, we must strengthen ourselves with the weapons that truly matter. It is the spirit of our enemies that drive them. We cannot fight this if our spirits are weak and purposeless. We cannot fight simply because one man or group of people order us to fight. There must be a drive within each and everyone one of us to fight for something much greater than ourselves. Unlike our enemies, we must fight for life and the freedom to live life to the fullest. Regardless of what faith you follow, life is a blessing that must never be taken for granted. The whole world was reminded of that on September 11, 2001.