Respect for Our Veterans’ Legacy

Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, (Photo via CNN.COM)

Just recently, I read a heartbreaking story of Calvin Gibbs, a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant who lead a rogue kill squad in Afghanistan which killed multiple Afghan civilians and planted weapons on them to make them appear as if they had initiated the violence.

And to make matters worse, he removed pieces of their dead bodies as souvenirs of their deaths, and had tattoos indicating how many people he had killed.

This is not how our country should be represented. And this is certainly not the point of having a military. I am thankful that Gibbs will be spending his life in military prison for these heinous and inhumane crimes.

When I think back to the various history classes I have taken, I recall the images of our country’s veterans. From the Revolutionary War and on, I always remember seeing that our involvement in international warfare was a necessity, a method of defending our country’s freedom and citizens. But as our military continues to grow and expand, the American impression of our military’s purpose seems to have shifted from defense to offense. Too often I have heard people talk about going into the military to “shoot some [racial slur].”

This never was, and never will be, the purpose of our military. In previous wars and conflicts, plenty of the young men and women who were shipped overseas knew their purpose was for defense. Any of them would gladly share stories of the troubles they endured, but never would you hear of them torturing innocent and unarmed civilians. Because that was not their job. So when people like Gibbs come along, with the cruel intention of ruining the lives of innocents, it not only tarnishes the image of our country, but of our military personnel, both past and present.

Out of respect for our veterans, we need to stop condoning the death of others just because they are different. Celebrating death does not make us bigger men; it makes us terrorists.

I don’t agree with the concept of war, but I understand its purpose and hold a great level of respect for those who serve. From my late grandfather, who served in Korea, to my cousin currently serving the Marines in Afghanistan, in addition to all my friends and family who risked their lives to defend our freedoms, I say thank you. Thank you for protecting our country, and protecting the innocent.

Thank you for doing your jobs.

Writer’s Block

So I realize that I haven’t posted since August…

oops.

Seems like I had a bad case of writer’s block. I find it funny that finally, after four years of strenuous amounts of homework and time-consuming meetings and shifts that I would be writing more than I used to, now that my schedule has really opened up. Since graduation–and especially since my last post–I’ve noticed myself becoming more introspective. Without major time commitments filling up my day planner, I have had plenty of opportunity to reflect on my life and the choices I’ve made. And because I was so consumed by my own thoughts, it never struck me that I write them down and publish them, as I have been over the past couple of years.

And to be honest, I hate it.

Now, that is not to say that I regret anything from my past. I am not the type of person to have long-term regrets. If I feel bad for something I have done, I immediately ask forgiveness. It’s the only way I prevent any regret or self-anger from building up and causing much greater long-term effects.

So while I don’t regret anything I’ve done that has led up to this present point in time, I recognize the effect my choices have had on my current situation. And I realize that, while I can’t erase the past, I can write my own future, on my own terms. I’m not afraid to admit that my current situation is by no means ideal (in some respects), which is why I can only hope that any choice I make from here on out will positively affect my future.

“Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future.” ~ Steve Jobs 

I know I am not the only one out there. To my fellow recent graduates, I know it’s tough. It’s tough to admit that a degree didn’t come equipped with a career; that we make our living off part-time retail and food service jobs; that the student loan companies will soon be flooding our mailboxes and inboxes; that it feels like we’ve been climbing the social ladder all through college, just to be knocked down to the bottom wrung again after graduation. I know, because I’m right there with you.

So all we can do is hope for the best, and prepare ourselves accordingly. There are no two ways about it