From the Commander Staff Picks Veterans Network

Remembering the Past

Written by AJ Powell

10694465_345200398989330_4222461359052631341_oIt has been 14 years now since the events of 11 September 2001 occurred right before the eyes of the world. Over a decade at war ensued, and many have paid the ultimate price since that fateful day.

Immediately following the events of September 11th, there was a nation unified in emotion. Most with no reason whatsoever to be so enraged, with zero ties of any kind to those who died… However this was another level of attachment entirely. A nation knew the society itself was attacked, and those actions reach every single member that day.

1175339_10151892236677679_996770972_nThe word of the hour was “Patriotism!”, though not many had any idea exactly what such a word meant. Other than waiving flags and shouting slogans, it would be safe to say that less than 1% of the entire American population had any real understanding of the word. But there were a few who did.

Those few brave souls – modern embodiments of the founding principles for which the nation was formed – stood up and answered a nations call. In secret at first, in the nights dark blanket, amongst the mountain ranges, valley’s, and vast expanses of sand, they wasted no time and devastated the enemy almost to the brink of extinction. The Warfighters embodied the true meaning of the word so very few understood. They offered themselves to the provision of life, safety, security… and yes, even vengeance.

7972471944_d50c459fcd_zYet soon the Warfighters lost their charge, and the enemy was allowed to take foot again. For politicians, big businesses, contractors, and the media came, all with agendas of their own. A whole new war was started, and the fight had changed for the worse… it was now against all intelligent reason. The rules were changed, and threats in the form of “warnings” came down from the top brass… “We don’t want to look like bad guys!”, they said. “So to further our careers – and for some the depths of pockets – instead of doing the righteous thing, follow these new rules we set that make us look good in the eyes of a public, protect the new control of natural resources, contracts, and vested interests of both corporations and politics, allow the media to place your lives in danger because opinion matters more than expertise, and accept that politicians thousands of miles away, with zero experience, and with zero perspective of physical presence, know what’s best.”

The enemy quickly bounced back. Now that handicapped restraints had been placed upon the brave few’s true capabilities, the enemy grew in numbers. Relentless retaliations followed, and many more suffered and died needlessly. Too many lost brothers and sisters, and for those who lived, though no one close to them may know it, they are still in far distant lands, and as such, we lose many more each day to their own hands.

September-11-Never-Forget-1The nation grew tired and fickle quickly, and it did not take long before that fragile conception of what they thought was “Patriotism” had died out, or worse, mutated into something different entirely. To most of them, the wars had zero meaning. After all, it did not ever impact their own lives in any meaningful, relevant way; so far from the fight, so far from harms way… so why should they care? At least that is the average ignorant thought which forgets to connect the reason why the fight has yet to arrive upon their own very door steps. And soon, even those brave few were beginning to be forgotten as wide-spread social indifference to the warriors plights began to take hold.

The 99% could never, and will never be capable of comprehension or understanding, and some even say it’s of no fault of their own, for they themselves are the very same – the vast majority – who cringed in fear that fateful day, yet refused to raise a hand to serve to this very day. They wake every morning blissfully ignorant to the realities of the world, taking for granted what that very 1% provides… their very lives.

9-11-Back-CoverToday, 14 years later, we have millions of Veterans – from nations around the world – whose numbers combined still comprise the overwhelming minority. Many have lost much or most of their lives in the battles against evil. Mental and physical traumas, and loss of all kind has become the haunting reality of the price they paid so the majority could have it so well. The cold, hard reality is, the very society itself has a very real, tangible debt owed to the few… and it is beyond time they ended the offerings of every excuse in the world as to why they refuse to pay up.

Oh sure, they believe they honor their protectors, they think so highly of artificial, meaningless, and worthless virtual “Likes”, empty words of “Thanks”, and handshakes in public forums… But the truth exists, that a “Like” on today’s modern technological social media, or a few mere words of [token support] “thanks”, does NOTHING to help anyone in real life. The fact is, those “likes” and those “words” are the disdain of all Veterans who know their hollow sounds. YES! There do exist very, very few who truly do aid the community with what so little they have – to which all Veterans are beyond thankful for such kindness… yet Warfighters know no meaningful intentions exist beyond the majority of society. Empty words and gestures mean NOTHING without real, tangible action to back them up, and it is beyond time that the same society who once held the slightest notions of “Patriotism” so many years ago finally ended their selfish self-centered indifference against the protectors and providers of their very lives and way of life.

It is not only time the 99% remembered, it is time they set aside their petty social differences and took real, meaningful action to actually support the 1% who makes their very lives possible.

Not with words, not with handshakes… but with real, meaningful action to make a real difference in the lives of those brave few.

Let NOT this one day a year remind you all of the sacrifices of the conflicts of today… let NOT this one day a year remind you all of the unity which faded so long ago. EVERY DAY should you be thankful… EVERY DAY should they be honored and remembered.

Honor them, those 1%…

…for ALL gave some, but some gave all…

Burial-Flag_-Navy-090410N67

And may we NEVER forget…

Old Guard soldiers plant flags at Arlington National Cemetery

…For to be forgotten, is worse than death.


About the author

AJ Powell

AJ is a retired U.S. Army NCO who served in both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army. He is a combat veteran, and has participated in contingency operations around the world. AJ is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a focus on Sociology and a degree in Organizational Leadership, and is published in the field of sociology. AJ is an inductive analyst, writer of military and leadership articles, aviator, a certified advanced operational diver, professional mentor and adviser, snowboarder, motorcycle rider, world traveler, and enjoys long distance endurance events.