Thursday, July 9, 2009

Soldiers are True Heroes

We received the following as a letter to the Editor. It is powerful. I know July 4th has passed but we thought you'd appreciate the sentiment. We opted not to change a single word. We're going to add this to our Patriotic Potpourri blog also. - GFP

Too often this year we've all had to make cut backs, make sacrifices. This economy forces sacrifice. But what about the greatest sacrifice of all, life? Perhaps you've heard or will hear, but many cities across the country are canceling 4th of July celebrations due to the economy.

Now, this is the part where you get to understand my bias.

My brother Cpl. Tony Mihalo, was killed 8/14/08, serving his third tour in Afghanistan. This is the part where you would say, 'I'm sorry for your loss', and I would say 'thank you.'

Save it. Let's focus on the issue at hand.

Since the death of my brother, I've been to countless military events over the last 12 months. This event has given me a new perspective on what it means to be an American. Quite overwhelming are our soldier's stories. They can't say enough times how greatful they are for our support. Support being as simple as a reminder of home including letters, energy bars, and magzines shipped by the families of those on the front lines. However, in getting to know these brave men and women, I know the support is not enough.

Read this closely, I'm not one who angers easily, but an anger grows inside me. An anger because of the support, lack of support by Americans. In this celebrity obsessed, got to have it now culture, Americans take what they have for granted. That angers me.

Perhaps its ignorance on their part, but they don't know what a military family knows. And I can only imagine how a returning soldier copes once their service contract has expired.

Have you supported a returning soldier? What have you done besides watch a parade, or the 4th of July fireworks? What have you done for our soldiers?

This country, for all the celebrities we obsess over, or need to feed our sports addiction, we should treat our soldiers like celebrities, like sports heroes. They are the heroes. They are the reason we can go to a ballpark or, watch the E! channel whenever we want without fear of death at our door.

Support our soldiers, even after they've returned. Be that person to remind them why they signed up in the first place.

Our rights came from those who gave their lives and we created a national day to celebrate. For all the billions upon trillions of dollars we spend, stop canceling 4th of July! If anything, more should be done.

July 4th should be celebrated with as much intensity as New Year's Eve. Do you remember the hope you had? What about all that love you had before the clock struck midnight? Or, were you too focused on drinking, or what celebrity was at which party? The night of New Years Eve. That amount of focus, dedication, and anticipation needs to be shifted to the 4th of July.

Forget the economy, it wouldn't be the first time.

4th of July should be the new New Year's Eve. This 4th of July, keep this thought in your head: There's a reason you can watch this year's fireworks. Because the real fireworks are on the other side of the word.

Support our soldiers.

Mike Mihalo
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