Tonight I caught a Lyft from a very nice and talkative Iraqi gentleman. On the ride home to St. Johns he asked me question after question. My new job working with homeless vets came up, and my new friend said something that struck me like a defensive lineman. He told me that it was the American troops in Iraq that inspired him to come to the States and that he is forever grateful. He is grateful for the US intervening against Saddam Hussein, and for helping stabilize the region. He said that of course there were still problems, but in no way close to the terror that he and his family lived under. He talked about the regime under Hussein, how all information was disseminated solely through him and his cronies. He talked about being fed lies about America–that we were an evil empire hoping to destroy Iraq and its people. He talked having one television channel and one radio station, both of which only ever featured Hussein and his ramblings. He talked about friends and their families just disappearing, never to be seen again.
All I could think about was how easy we have it here. How simple our lives are, even those lives that appear the most marginalized. The pain and sorrow of our most forgotten peoples here in the States pale in comparison to our brothers and sisters in Iraq. We can say what we want, go where we please, watch what we want on hundreds of television channels. We can argue over one hundred sub-classifications of music that are delivered to us through thousands of outlets and still never hear everything that’s been recorded. We could have agreed with going to Iraq, or we stood in protest against it. We can vote for our leaders, as minimal as our choices might seem, but they are at least 100% more than my Lyft driver had living in under a totalitarian regime.
We only really ever recognize veterans for their service. But we never talk about the influence they have. Whether it be abroad or in their respective communities, the men and women who have given their life over to the service of our home are of great value and influence where ever they may be. This influence-this inspiration-this service is a debt none of us can ever repay. Today I would like to honor the men and women of the armed services with this little story. I hope it brings you some peace and solace today. Thank you all so very much for your service.
If it weren’t for you, we may not be able to trash talk Trump as passionately, openly, and freely as we do. 😉