US Citizens Flee Reality

Wounded Warriors Still At War

Revised Feb. 10, 2013

Still needs double checked for grammar


Normally I would shy away from really controversial subjects, but there are some things I can’t ignore. Before I tackle this topic, I want to say up front I’m not a flower child, a make love not war freak, or any other stereotype that opposes all wars. That could not be further from the truth. At the same time, I don’t run and hide from the reality of war.

The Associated Press has come under fire for printing a photograph of a dying Marine in Afghanistan. While the photograph was disturbing and I truly sympathize with the family, it’s time for America to see reality. When our soldiers die, it isn’t the small blood splatter that gradually enlarges like you see in Hollywood movies. When they are reported as injured, it’s not a sprained ankle or a large cut.

Many of these soldiers are severally disfigured, lost limbs and some are partially or completely paralyzed. All suffer psychologically. They deserve to be noticed, applauded and supported because they have given more to this country than most of us. You cannot give a soldier his or her proper due if you ignore the events.

People are cut off from the reality of the wars we are fighting. They see an occasional funeral on tv, a flag-draped coffin being transferred from a plane or some other safe photo shot in Iraq or Afghanistan of troops clearing buildings or something. The statistics *sound* very low (statistics below) as compared to previous wars but this is due to the outstanding care our troops get in the field. They are surviving injuries soldiers in other wars would not have.

War Deaths:

4,346 in Iraq (not including suicides) (since 2003) | 814 in Afghanistan (since 2001)

300 in Iraq (1990–91) | 58,209 in Vietnam (1957–73) | 36,516 in Korea (1950–53)

405,399 in World War 2 (1941–45) | 116,516 in World War 1 (1917–18)

625,000 in Civil War (1861–65) | 25,000 est in Revolutionary War (1775–83)

While I was in San Antonio (TX) last summer, I had the opportunity to see some of the official count of 35,205 (31,483 Iraq + 3,722 Afghanistan) Wounded Warriors being treated at the Center For The Intrepid (click to donate) and Brooke Army Medical Center. I have also watched nearly every documentary (including those produced by England – get more facts from another government) that has surfaced on either war. Many of these soldiers are severally disfigured, lost limbs and some are partially or completely paralyzed. All suffer psychologically.

Our wounded deserve to be noticed, applauded and supported because they have given more to this country than most of us. You cannot give a soldier his or her proper due if you ignore the events. You can look at a photograph but they must live it every day.

There are families struggling alongside their loved one. While happy to have him or her back, they are brokenhearted about the tragedy. They, too, face a long road. Families whose loved one didn't return face an even harder road. Even those waiting and worrying while their soldier is deployed face struggles and heartache the normal family escapes.

We should also know how our soldiers died. Our soldiers and their families deserve it. They were serving us. What did they encounter before they died? What heroic acts were performed? They deserve more than a name and possibly their service photo on the news.

Think back to previous wars. Remember the heart-wrenching photographs of people who had survived the atomic bomb attacks in Japan? How about those who survived Agent Orange in Vietnam or our soldiers critically wounded in those wars? They made an impact. You had to face the reality of what was happening. There was no choice. They were on tv and in newspapers and magazines.

Now people in the US seem to have somehow jointly come to the point of just leave or keep it out of my face. Neither of these are an option. The wars are necessary and people will get injured or killed. That’s reality. If we run away like we did in Somolia, we empower those who are committing these atrocities. Bin Laden and others pointed to Somolia after the 9/11 attacks and said we wouldn’t do anything because the minute an injured soldier turned up in the news, we would run.

Is that what you want our enemies to think? We’re push overs? Not me.

About the author:

Shades is a former award-winning photographer and journalist. Her work (including freelance) included the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Portsmouth Daily Times, the Fort Wayne (IN) Newspaper Group as well as many schools and businesses. She also designed and maintained the popular fan site, Planet Jendell (Ace Frehley of Kiss) for several years. Currently Shades writes for Read It Here! [http://readithere.net]

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