Wherever you stand on the political divide, you can see that America is a little rough right now. To say the least. A big problem I see is a lack of patriotism. People aren't proud to be Americans. There's a deficiency of love for country. There's a lack of belief in our home. So, in light of this fading of red, white, and blue, I want to briefly pay tribute to a topic sadly forgotten in a large portion of these fifty states: Prisoners of war.
When my father was an active duty Naval aviator in 1991, one of his friends went missing. Really missing.
For weeks they prayed for a sign of his living.
He was engaged. He had a life. But he was gone.
Thanks to God, he returned home safely, but not before seven weeks of being a prisoner of war in Iraq.
Imagine being my father's friend. Close your eyes and listen to the violent screams of a language you don't know. Feel the searing pain as they beat what's left of your decrepit body. You're not home. You're far from it. You haven't seen anything you love in months. You're struggling to hold onto reality and maintain any form of hope. You're weak. Not just that weak-from-two-days-of-the-flu weak. You're potentially dying.
Now be this man's fiance. Your future is literally missing. The person you're closest to, whom you have given so much to, and received so much from, is gone. Probably forever. Each and every day that passes you're made sicker as you struggle to keep your thoughts on hopeful homecoming, rather than harsh reality. Nothing is normal. No part of your routine is the same. Every time you drive by your Date Night restaurant, every time you hear a plane overhead, every time you smell their jacket or pass their favorite snack in the grocery store, you remember that they're gone. And possibly dead. Cold. Rotting.
You can keep your eyes shut and be any person in this scenario. Be this man's mother. His boss. Heck, be my dad. Take your pick. Live their life and feel their heart as it aches to the point of panic. Desperation. Then do it for a few hours. Then do it for several more weeks. Yeah.
Think of someone you love. Not just that guy you had a crush on. Not a work friend in a cubicle next to yours. No. Think of someone so deeply rooted into your being, your very existence, that the thought of their absence sends you into a spiraling panic attack.
Think of life without them. Not just "they go to a different college and I hate the distance." They've disappeared. You're not wondering how their day has been going, and when they're going to text back. No. You're wondering if they've eaten in the last two weeks. You're wondering if they're dead.
The one thing you know is that they're gone, and missing, and lost in one of the most dangerous parts of the world.
Prisoners of war and those missing in action deserve more than a brief annual ceremony or a note by some stuck up politician using them for persuasion. They deserve constant prayer, first and foremost. Every morning at school, we have a moment of silence. I make a point of using that time to say a prayer for all our servicemen, but I specifically think of those missing. I force myself, for about five seconds, to pretend I'm one of their family members. I pretend it's my sister. I picture it as my son.
Those seconds remind me daily why these men and women need to be brought home.
Yes, they deserve thoughts and prayers. But they deserve more.
These people who devote their lives to service for others deserve endless, continuous, furious and passionate efforts from this country to bring them home. They cannot be deserted.
They, and U.S. soldiers in general, deserve the devoted respect and admiration of the American people. Recognition and awareness need to more vastly and purposefully spread, rooted in the hearts of every American able to comprehend the acronyms POW and MIA. We need to rejuvenate this scrambled up country in unification towards a common cause. These people, soldiers, sons, daughters, friends, Americans, need to come home.
Anyone who disagrees can please go meet my father's friend. Share your argument with him. Tell him why his life doesn't matter. Tell him why you would not care if he had come home.