Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Greatest Soldiers - Good Luck, Safe Travels and God's Speed To Chris Edstrom

My cousin Chris Edstrom is headed back to Afghanistan.  He has already done two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

This will be his fourth tour of duty in a war zone.

Tom Brokaw coined the term the "Greatest Generation" - a term which represents  the Americans who grew up during The Great Depression and then went on to fight in World War II.

There is no question of the sacrifices of that generation - both abroad and at home.  Americans were asked to sacrifice at home to help those soldiers abroad.  Americans were previously asked to pay for the wars - something George W. Bush should have absolutely done.  To put ANY WAR on the credit card of our children, grand-children, and beyond was an egregious and reprehensible decision.  If we ask our young men and woman to sacrifice, then so should the Americans back home.

My personal belief is that the sacrifices we are asking our young men and woman today are greater than those of World War II.  Yes, I realize I am opening myself up for flames, but that has never stopped me before, so let me explain.

In previous war efforts, soldiers would do a single tour of duty.  More than one tour would be (typically) at the soldiers choice.  You never heard of a soldier doing four or five tours of duty in Vietnam for example.   The soldiers in Vietnam did not have the support of the American people.  Can anything be worse than being drafted to fight in a war then be spit upon when you return?  The Vietnam Vets did not get parades when they came home - the got agent orange dropped on them in Vietnam and got chronic lymphoid leukemia (CLL).

Ask my father about his two tours of duty in Vietnam and CLL...

The soldiers  in today's wars - Iraq and Afghanistan - such as my cousin Chris Edstrom - are the greatest soldiers.  These soldiers are asked to do the impossible.  They are asked to do the impossible every day and are asked to to go on multiple tours of duty.  They do not know who the enemy is as soldiers did in previous wars.  Fighting in Europe, the pacific rim or Vietnam would be considered a vacation spot (and is) versus Iraq or Afghanistan.  They have to deal with the constant pressure of never knowing where the next  IED might be found all while not just fighting a war, but being asked to rebuild nations at the same time.  

No soliders have had such adverse set of circumstances placed on them and they are doing tremendous work.  This is why Tom Brokaw was right about the "Greatest Generation", but I believe today's soldiers are the "Greatest Soldiers".

Good luck, be safe and God's Speed Chris....