That is why young men go to war…

and old men sit at home talking about war.

Monday marks a day that this nation has set aside to remember those young men who went to war. It also happens to be the day one of my grandfathers, who was also a soldier, lost the last battle he ever fought.

I sat in my other grandfather’s family room recently and we reasoned together. He posed a question to me that sadly I am afraid many people never think on. He ask me where the line was for me personally that would cause me to feel that war, violence, and loss of innocent life was outweighed by the need for change.

He and I often don’t agree. Some of that is because our fundamental beliefs and some of it is the generational gap between us. As we sat and reasoned together the thought kept coming to me “what did you fight for?” “What did you feel you were defending?”

At one point he said that he wasn’t sure he saw a line anymore that would be worth the violence and lose of life. I respect his views and his principles immensely, but with respect I replied “and that is why young men go to war … And old men stay home and talk about war.”

I come from a very long line of warriors. I have numerous family members that fought in the name of freedom. Both grandfathers, several great uncles, some cousins, some came home safe, and others came home covered by red, white, and blue. I still remember standing at the airport waiting for my cousin to come home, the heaviness in the air as they carried him off the plane. Surrounded on every side by warriors. Never was he left alone, a man of war stood watch over him every hour of every day until the last gun shots rang out.

As I see flags start to appear in lawns and on porches all around, my thoughts turn towards the men who bloodied their hands so others didn’t have to do so. Men who left family, comforts of home, and safety to go stand against a threat deemed too dangerous to be left alone. The men who didn’t walk, but ran towards the gun fire. The sounds of explosions rock their bunks. The night sky is lit up like daylight with bombs sent seeking their life. Yet they run to most certain death in order that we might sit at home and complain and grow angry at the state of affairs that surround us.

These men of blood knew where their line in sand was. They knew how bad it had to get for them to be willing to bloody themselves. To take the life of another is not something light, it is something that should weigh on a person. To take the last breath from the lungs of another human should change a person. I see some of these men now and see the lives they carry around with them every day.

I have not ever and probably won’t agree with every war this country fights. But the men that take up arms and willingly take on the burden of spilling blood so that war stays over there instead of landing here at home…those men, the men of war, these are men to respect and admire.

To the warriors past, present, and future…May your burden be light, the blood you spill not haunt you, and when you lay your head down may you sleep well and dream of home.

To the rest of us…do we know where our line in the sand is indeed? Are we willing to hold the line? What hill are you ready to die on today?

To the warriors of my family…you have my respect and admiration.

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