Sunday, November 9, 2008

Very sad, truly, incredibly sad.

Just a short thought on something I saw today and how it effected me. Alright, so a little background before I get to my main point for those of you who may read this and aren't from this area or may not know me. I'm obsessive when it comes to working out, not in an anorexic sort of way, more of the opposite. I'm obsessive in a bodybuilder who just can't manage to get big enough kind of way. Normally I lift at home in my own pseudo gym where I won't be bothered by a crowd of after-work social gym goers. Those people who have been going to the gym for years and still look like they've never been in a gym. This is a symptom of one thing, attending the gym to talk to people rather than to get something done. These people sit on machines they aren't using for ten minutes at a time while they talk, or stand in front of them, or even worse they talk and distract me. Anyhow, this is why I usually work out at home, between at least 8 hours in the office and a two hour daily commute, I don't feel like another 40 minutes of driving and the wasted time in the gym. On Saturdays I go to Slippery Rock (the university from which I graduated) to work out in the gym there. It's about a 45 minute drive or so but the gym is huge and by far the best around. Gives me something useful to do and time to think and college people in the gym are far more like me in their reason for going to the gym. Long story short the parking lot was packed, in fact all the nearby ones were. Not a problem, I'm here for a workout I'll walk a little extra distance to get there. It was my kind of day anyhow, not too cold, reasonable, could have been warmer, as well as overcast and dreary but not wet or raining. I'm messed up like that, it's my favorite type of weather. So as I walk I realize that there are a lot of extra spots marked off for handicap vans. As I walk up they're disabled veteran's vans. I didn't really think a lot about it I just kept walking. Well it turns out that they were having some sort of basketball tournament or something of the sort for just that, disabled Iraq veterans. Now I am a political and history nut so I have countless opinions about Iraq and war in general but this is not about that. I've read any book I can get my hands on about Iraq, WWII, Vietnam, and others, especially ones written by vets. I have a fairly good handle on opinions of many people who have served and earned my respect. Some might consider mine sick fascination with the sick tendencies of human nature to send others to fight for their own purposes. I don't know these individuals personally who were in attendance today but I stopped to watch for a few minutes not actually able to attain the balls to talk to any of these people. I'm not sure if it would have been considered disrespectful or just the opposite had I done so. Why should they have any reason to talk to me? I regard each of them as heroic whether heroes or otherwise, for their sacrifices no matter how they view the war or the circumstances which caused them to get tangled in it. I never served in the armed forces though I've often regretted that choice for various reasons and those who know me best probably know what I'm talking about, for those others it's unimportant. The thing is, as I stood there watching there were all sorts of things going through my head. All the books that I've read, all the accounts of fire fights and IED's, destruction and loss, feelings and emotions portrayed in writing. Each of these individuals has a story, each of these people were there and lived something that even those of us most educated on this subject can only attempt to imagine. As I looked around and watched them play, looking at the faces, male and female, my respect and admiration grew ten-fold past the already lofty heights at which it previously stood. I don't know what their struggle must be like. I don't know what might be going through their heads, their stories of war and the life they lived before their injuries confined them to wheel chairs. I realized I'll never know, the best I can ever do is the feelings like those I felt this day. All these faces of regular people, most of were so very young. Nearly all of them were younger than me as far as I could tell. I would bet that 90% of them were under 23 years old. These people were in many cases not any older than the college students who walked around seemingly oblivious to what was going on. College kids content in their day to day life an largely unaware of the world around them and outside of their own circles. I don't know what it must be like to be sent to a place half way around the world to "liberate" people you don't know anything about. Not only that but to lose the ability to do something so simple, something we take so for granted as to simply walk around and go about our business without a thought about how good we have it to be able to actually stand in the restroom or reach the sink without extra effort. Each one of these people woke up each day up until the incident that caused this in one condition, the one they were born in, just like we do every day. One day, one minute, one second changed all of that for each of them forever. Maybe they cope well, maybe they don't, I'll never know in many cases, but I'll always wonder. Another thing I wonder to myself is how would I cope. What would I do if this were me, if I could no longer do the things that I can do now. Do they wonder why it had to be them and suffer from the what ifs? Are they just happy it wasn't worse and happy that this is all that happened. I don't think I would be, I'm quite sure I would be extremely angry. I'm not quite sure how one does deal with such a thing. All I could do was stand and wonder. I've known many people who were in various branches of military and some quite well but I've never known anybody who sacrificed so much, who lived through such tragic circumstances. I've always felt the same way I do today about all of this, but never having seen the actual faces of those who've lived through the worst of war left me without something. I'm not exactly sure what that something was but I left today with a whole series of additional thoughts on the matter. I have a better understanding and yet a higher level of confusion. All things considered, whether right or wrong, I don't think it's worth it. Even if the war happens to not be solely for misguided monetary or political gain I don't think it's worth it. There is no way that such young people should be asked to leave their lives and sacrifice life or limb for a country that has not helped itself since the beginning of written history. The "freedom" of 50 Iraqis to me is not worth the life or even the ability to walk of one of these people I saw today. These are our own people, our own neighbors, the bravest and best our country has to offer. They picked up and left on the order of politicians they may or may not have helped to elect and went to "defend" a country that is not their own. Their lives changed forever in an instant for a cause that was not theirs. How many more must be forced to make the same sacrifice before this all ends. Now I'm not a member of the Cult of Obama by any means. I don't think this man is our savior, I don't think this man is anything less than just another politician with his own agendas. I agree with a lot of what he claims he'll do and disagree with just as many of this plans. The one thing I hope is that Obama does what John McCain and his moronic partner Mrs. Palin would not do and that is let Iraq and Afghanistan sort out their own mess and bring our people home. We've given them more than enough of our time, our man-power, and lives of people who barely spent time living before being sent. The middle east has proven time and again to be a rats nest in hell and it's people have proven that what they say they want and what they're willing to do to help get it don't match. It's time we give them a final time frame to stand up or shut up and stick to it. Let's just hope that Obama truly does stand for change and gets on top of it. I'm really not sure what else to say on this matter. I'm curious what anybody who may read this has to say on the subject so if you agree or if you disagree or just have something to say, please feel free. I appreciate your sitting and reading my rant. Have a good night.

1 comment:

13 Stoploss said...

I too, suffer the same workout/gym problem. Before the Army, I was 5'10" and 138. Now, I am 5'9" and 150, but look the same. I fear I will never look like I imagined men were supposed to look. Yesterday, a girl in class was shocked to learn that I am 27, saying she thought I was 18. Too bad I feel as though I am 38...

Thanks for the link-to!
- Jason