Life as Lou

On War And The State Of Our Citizens

  • February 24, 2011 1:21 pm

(Image by Philip Greenspun).

I have had war on my mind lately. That shouldn’t be too unusual, since I do live on a United States Air Force base and I am married to a man in camouflage. The fact that I read the news and see reports of bombings, deaths and expenditures ought to put it on my mind as well. The thing that is bothering me is that I usually don’t think about it, and I don’t think that is abnormal for your average US citizen, or even an average person of any peaceful place.

These wars in the Middle East seem to go on forever. While America is rapidly draining financial reserves and every drop of credit they have, and anyone can watch the news and see soldiers coming and going, these wars have little to no effect on us. We go about our daily business, and are almost never slowed down by a consequence of war. It is easy to forget. Even the people who are perpetually postulating their arguments for and against these conflicts usually go home at the end of the day and live a life of contented ease.

As ashamed as I am to say it, as the wife and daughter of valiant men who have put their lives on the line for this conflict, as a woman who daily pauses her conversations as the roar of bombers pass over head, as a person who kisses her husband goodbye in the morning knowing full well that the object of his work is to get a bomb to the right place so people can be killed in the name of peace and progress- I hardly think about it. I worry about my car payment, groceries, cleaning my bathrooms, work stress, and the kids’ piano lessons. Unless my husband is currently deployed (which he has been, twice in the past five years) or I’m lending support to a friend and her family who are doing without their spouse and parent for a season, I really don’t dwell on it. And I know I’m not alone in this.

I often wonder what choices we, as a nation, would make differently if we were a little more emotionally invested in these wars. I look back with such admiration for the World War Two generation. These people not only sent a remarkable number of their loved ones into battle, but those on the home front made daily sacrifices in support of the war effort. They dealt with butter, sugar and gas rationing. They went without new shoes, as all rubber goods were being used to outfit the troops. Children rarely received a new toy because the toy factories had been converted into factories for machinery and artillery. For the first time in history, children went without their mothers en masse, as many women volunteered long hours at the Red Cross or took factory jobs in support of the war effort. Their lives changed.

How would your view on things change if you had to make some of these sacrifices? What if making your child’s frosted birthday cake involved doing without butter and sugar for a month? What if every road trip you wanted to take had to be canceled, and you went without seeing family or taking a vacation for the duration of the war because unnecessary travel was deemed unpatriotic. What if you saw gold stars representing fallen loved ones, not on the news, but on your own front door and the doors of many, many people you cared about?

I think we would be a lot less complacent and considerably more likely to have some very clear expectations of our elected officials. I think our tolerance for waffling plans and impossible to solve world problems would be a lot lower. I don’t think we would make the choices we do, and I don’t think that we would be silent if our politicians continued on the course they are on not only in matters of war, but of things like fiscal responsibility, the education of our children and the care of our veterans. I think we would be a much more unified nation, and I will go so far as to say I think we would be better for it.

None of us want to do without. We don’t like hard times, and I’m certainly not volunteering to have any more challenges enter my life. But I think every person in this country ought to take a long, hard look at what we willingly allow and by our apathy condone. Things are not well in America, and this is only a small tip of the iceberg.


  1. MichelleD says:

    Leah~ Thanks for a very thought provoking and conficting post. It is true that the majority of Americans (myself included) do take our freedoms for granted. Our church prays for the military and our family does as well, but it does seem like a “drop in the bucket” compared to how we should be valuing our Veterans and our Military. Thank you for you “gentle” reminder!! God Bless!

  2. Tip of the iceberg indeed. I have often found it unsettling how often I don’t think about it! I think that the reason most don’t, in large part, is because many don’t feel that anything they do can truly affect it. And I suppose the are right. I guess I attempt to focus on teaching my children in ways of truth and righteousness in hopes that they will influence a better way of life for their generation. I also think it’s part of the reason I love teaching primary so much.

  3. Laura-Lee says:

    Interesting Leah….I too don’t think often about it, I will admitt there are things I do ponder about but they are things in the past not now…I don’t know why. I think it’s because I see veterans everyday and I wonder what they think of us…actually I don’t want to know….I know it’s a different time and all, but seriously, we take so much for granted and we are so incredibly selfish and materialistic that we must look like a horrid society to them. that’s what I think about and it makes me sad. Great post Leah…

  4. Lisa says:

    I think you are right about the reasons for complacency. For me personally, I tend to focus on the little problems and challenges of my life because I can’t handle thinking about the war too much. With my sweetie right in the middle of it, it’s more than I can bear. I can almost feel my mind shutting down and withdrawing when I try to think about it. Then I start thinking that I can’t change the situation anyway, so why torture myself? Petty but true. That’s where the gospel comes in, to comfort and strengthen me. We’re only human, but we can strive for empathy and selflessness.

  5. amie says:

    Good reminder!

  6. KellyG says:

    Good points Leah! I think there are a lot of things we put out of our minds because we feel we can’t do anything about it! Thanks for reminding us and making us think about it!

  7. Victoria Lau says:

    Very good points! ITA!

  8. Beth W says:

    I was an Army wife during another “conflict” 40 years ago-so I say, “Amen sister!”

  9. Gloria Martens says:

    Whether your readers agree with you or not (and I do) I believe you have provoked all of us to think more deeply about the condition of our country today.

  10. nitasha says:

    This is a very though provoking post…the world needs more real thoughs instead of just fluff. I like a little fluff as much as the next person, but really when what celebrity is in detox or getting divorced in on the 5 o’clock news I think there is a problem…We need to focus on what really matters!

  11. Emma O. says:

    It’s very interesting you mention this. I was just thinking about how my husband and I are about to celebrate another anniversary and our whole marriage, our country has been at war. My niece and nephew have only lived during a time of war. But the truth is, we don’t see it…it’s not part of our daily life. It’s a shame and I hope people don’t forget where we really are today.

  12. Carol says:

    I’ve actually been thinking about this too lately….the world is falling apart, literally. It’s scary. And yes, I am safe in my little dot on this earth….at the moment. But it’s all scary and for me, I have no idea what I could even do about it. So thanks for your thoughts.

  13. It’s scary how easy it is for us to bury our heads in the sand about this. :(

  14. Teresa says:

    Thank you so much for your wonderful article – I stumbled upon your blog from another link to look at your pleated flower tutorial. The world is going to H in a hand basket as my grandmother use to say but as a Christian we can stand in prayer, speak out as you have done and remember there is a Creator who holds us in our hands. I will pray daily for your husband as I do for my 2 nieces in different branches of our armed forces for strength, for a hedge of protection and a prayer of gratitude for all that they do on a daily basis for our freedoms which so many take for granted.

  15. Pam Spradlin says:

    My husband was involved with Desert Sand and Desert Storm and because of that experience I don’t think the majority of people today would be able to go through what the general population did during WWII. People today are way too pampered and want their life to be easy. Because of my husband and his service as a Marine, the military will always be in my prayers.

  16. LG Belarmino says:

    this is so true! We need reminder like this from time to time

  17. Tinamcd says:

    We have so much to be thankful for… but thank you for making us think.

  18. Michelle Magana says:

    Nicely said Leah!