There is a lot in the news about what's happening in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places around the world. And there is a lot of punditry that goes along with the news. I have heard in recent days that "the American people" think this or that. It's almost nauseating. We are at war and "the American people" whether or not they support the war, generally do not, in my experience, really understand what the American Fighting Man and Woman thinks and feels. They do not get it when a soldier, sailor, marine, or airman describe why they do what they do. In short, most people do not understand what it means to be a Warrior. For those that would like to get a glimpse of how a military man thinks, why he fights, and what he fights for, please see '300'. It is more than an action flick. It is a view into the heart and soul of men that fight for a living and a cause. Like the American fighting and dying on the field of glory in today's war, these men are not potters or sculptors or blacksmiths. They are soldiers. They fight. They die. It is not just a vocation, it is a life lived with others in mind. Warriors run to the sound of clinking armor and whizzing bullets while others cower. Warriors struggle with any enemy that would threaten the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breath free. Warriors are free men who battle enslaved pawns. The men and women I see fighting today are that kind of warrior. They live and breathe to do what they do...fight.
And what of the rest of us? Those of us who can not or will not bleed with them? What lesson can "the American people" take away from a movie? That death in the struggle is honorable. No one wants to die. But it happens. It is up to the American people to allow the American Warrior to die with honor. We can and should mourn at the loss of one of our own. But that loss should cause us to stand and beat our chests with patriotic pride, glad to live in a country worth fighting for.
If folks could gain even a cursory understanding of the ethos of the warriors that stand and fight in the gap for the freedom of fellow citizens they will never meet, I think much of our national angst would be replaced with national pride.