Posted by steven greaves photography on April 2, 2010 · 

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Feel free to slight our President or members of Congress; they often deserve the barbs we launch.  Feel free to burn the flag; as determined by those on the bench, it is a form of speech. Feel free to assume that your home is your hearth and that you remain king of your castle. Feel confident that the State, unless an enemy combatant, will not torture your body or mind. These rights are guaranteed by the document governing our land. There are those, however, who are not so fortunate. They live in lands of oppression, toil under the yokes of totalitarian regimes and, with lips sealed, remain free only in their minds. 

These freedoms we share are oft neglected and frequently forgotten. We are too captivated in our pursuits of wealth and fame to pay much mind. Celebrity culture consumes our consciousness as corporate titans tell us what we “need” through endless streams of advertising. You cannot escape the message: consume! Reality television endears us with the absurd antics of narcissists, a sad commentary of our age. Bankers and investors take our money, yet again, because they are “too big to fail.” Video games hold our children captive as pixilated gangsters slap unsuspecting “hos” and gunshots ring out in Dolby surround sound. 

While we continue along our selfish, vain and shallow paths, we all too often forget about those who protect our ability to destroy ourselves from within. Uniformed men and women tolerate the extremes of the human condition so that we do not have to. In harsh environments they work without question. Away from loved ones, they toil without complaint. Today, in far off lands, they risk their mortality for the protection of our immorality. 

Say what you will about the wars and conflagrations they are enmeshed in… be they “just” or “unjust.” Ridicule the policies of the right or the left that often result in the conflicts that take them away. Question the rationales for their blood spilled- to bring democracy or to usher in a new age of consumerism? But, in all this, question the politicians (for whom you voted) that hold the pens of power that send men to war. Those who follow these orders do so without question. Their nation has apparently spoken. Many themselves find disagreement with the politics of conflict and recognize the futility of these struggles. They question the motivations and the decisions of those sitting in the halls of power but they do so silently…. as their duty requires. In their selflessness, our selfishness finds a home. 

When they return from conflicts in unknown lands and attempt to assimilate back into our society, many find contempt from those they were served with protecting. Others cannot cope and ask the question: what was I fighting for? when they notice their deeds unrecognized and their sacrifices diminished. Many end up with bottle, discarded on the streets or try to find a foothold in a society they no longer recognize.
We owe them more. Support Your Troops!

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