In the background I had C-Span on listening to the ungratefulness of the Iraqi Ministers testify in front of the Congressional Foreign Affairs, Int’l Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight Committee.
When it was over, it replayed the Monday service at the White House where President Bush presented the Medal of Honor to the parents of Private First Class Ross McGinnis of Knox, Pennsylvania, whose brave service in Iraq saved the lives of four fellow servicemen when he put his body in the way of a grenade on December 2, 2006.
I found myself moving away from the computer and standing at attention in front of the television. I found myself moved to tears. As President Bush recounted how this young man wanted nothing more in life than to be a soldier, from the time he drew his picture at age 6, to the comedian he became, even being able to make his drill sergeant laugh, to always being there for his friends and family.
Although I may never meet any of the McGinnis family or other servicemen and women who were killed, I feel blessed to know there are people who call themselves United States military who protect me all over this world.
It’s easy to measure deaths and destruction, but our inability to measure what has not happened is what we should also concentrate on. We have not had a major attack on our soil since September 11th, 2001. Our President and his administration needs to get credit for that.
We cannot measure how many people may have died in our country had we had other attacks. We cannot measure how many cities might have been destroyed, how many avenues of transportation may have been suddenly halted (remember how there were no planes for nearly a week after 9/11), how many neighbors would have been displaced or homeless, or how much destruction we would have needed to clean up, repair and rebuild.
If we leave Iraq tomorrow, as many citizens and elected officials prefer, would we still be able to gain the intelligence needed to stop attacks? Unsure.
Sometimes we feel we need to just worry about our own people…bring all the troops home from everywhere on this planet, isolate ourselves, close our borders, move the United Nations to some island where they can foot the bill to house them, exclude everyone who doesn’t belong here and let them all handle their own lives. Let all the folks who hate our country leave and leave now. Let all these ungrateful ministers and heads of other states fend for themselves. After all, they hate us but, of course, they’ll take our money and curse us as they ask for more.
I don’t know the perfect answer and maybe there isn’t one. But today, I want us to remember a valiant man who gave his life for the lives of others – Private First Class Ross McGinnis.
The scriptures tell us, “no greater love than this, than a man who lays down his life for another.” The ultimate sacrifice.
And I don’t know too many people who can ever say they’d do that.