Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’

This is my last Patriots Day in uniform.  13 years ago I was a 31 year old Buck Sergeant preparing to go to his first foreign country to help train them in peace keeping operations when the fabric of the world I had known was ripped apart.  As we were packing our kit to depart in two days terrorists took it upon themselves to bring us to war.  Ten days later we eventually left on our mission while my brothers and sisters in arms were packing for the unknown.  I did not deploy to either invasion, but I did eventually make it to both Iraq and Afghanistan for close to five years total time deployed.

I have been blessed over the years to know some very special people.  Some of them have given the last full measure, some are continuing to serve and all too many of them are stuck in a ground in between.  They gave what they had and have been unable to adjust and are lost, looking for a way to come back or to just find some measure of peace for themselves.  9/11 remembrances often consist of memorial and dedications to the 2993 souls who lost their lives that day and that is rightful thing to do.  2993 innocent and unsuspecting people paid the ultimate price for simply being a citizen of the United States or having the misfortune of being at the location when the attacks happened.

9/11 for me is not simply about those people and their families.  Casualties from that day have continued to pile up in lives lost and scars visible and hidden.  Environmental effects from the Towers continue to plague emergency responders and volunteers all these years later.  Iraq saw 4486 of my comrades in arms give their lives in service by the time we pulled out in 2011, as well as countless thousands who still suffer physical and emotional traumas as a result of their service there.  Afghanistan has seen an additional 2344 killed in action to date and thousands more with physical and emotional trauma to date, and we have been there longer with still more to go.  Those attacks that day have continued and will continue to take and radically affect the lives of Americans in and out of uniform.  In this regard, Usama bin Laden and Al Qaeda have exceed well beyond their expectations.

We as Americans have drawn a distinction between the casualties of that fateful day and our subsequent losses in the years since.  I think this is a mistake on our part.  The events that day and those in the years to follow and the years to come are indelibly tied together and each loss we continue to suffer is directly attributable to 9/11 2001.  Opinions on how much or little justification we had for invading Iraq on top of our assembled coalition hostilities in Afghanistan mean very little when the truths are not truths for the sake of being truthful but political machinations intended to sway a quorum.

Thirteen years of war has changed us as a country.  Thirteen years of remembrance reminds of of what our country is supposed to be.  We now have one tower where two used to stand and we have a country with multiple divisions where we once came together for the common good, saw beyond the horror of the scenes before us to look into our own hearts and extend our hands to those who desperately needed.

This last year is bittersweet.  Almost half my life has been in uniform, it has been my identity and provided me the optic that I have been able to view the events of these last years through.  Sometimes that vision has been with sparkling clarity and magnified view and all too many other times I have had to dry the moisture off it to see beyond my own sorrow.  I do not look upon Patriots Day as a holiday but one of remembrance and reverence.  I give one final salute and take my moments of reflection for those who have given their lives, those who have moved on as best they can and those who will never be able to.

Rest in Peace whose souls have flown

9/11/2001

Never Forget

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After watching the coverage of the events which unfolded this week in Boston I wanted to take a little while and write something critical yet poignant and relevant about what we, as Americans, seem willing to accept from the fourth estate these days.  Last evening as the manhunt was coming to a close I was flipping back and forth between the major news networks and was incensed at the inability of all the talking heads from sensationalizing, speculating, and just outright using their platform as a means to spread their filth.  To me, and many of the people I was sharing with it was outright disgusting.

In some sense just writing this blog and entertaining my 10s of followers, loyal as they are, I am part of today’s media.  I in no way, claim to be a reporter or to have any information of relative value beyond my own opinion and my personal experiences.  I am not afraid of a controversial subject, yet I do my best to make sure that what I say is understood to be my opinion and not a representation of the organization that I work for.  That is something that I take pretty seriously and it is one reason why I try not to be overly critical of anything military related, I temper my opinions on my Commander in Chief, and have spoken out about those who have gotten themselves in trouble because they did not take the same care in their own statements.  I want to make this clarification because I think along with my freedom of speech, guaranteed by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, there is a responsibility to do so with a sense of, responsibility.

This may be a novel idea, but I think it is something that the media today does not have as an institution.  This is regardless of the network they work for.  There are few if any reporters that present the goings on, on a day to day basis, with anything in mind but the entertainment value of the story in front of them.  I think some of the local networks do a better job of it, they are accountable to the people they are showing themselves to.  The nationals, television and print media, are in it for the sensationalism.

Somewhere along the way this week the events in Boston morphed from the destructive events at the Boston marathon and all those affected by it, to the sexiness of SWAT teams, intelligence, shelter in place requests, and two dumbass brothers who committed numerous heinous acts for what reason no one knows at this point.  One brother, most likely the leader was mortally wounded somewhere between lead poisoning and his prostrate body being run over by his younger brother as he made his escape.  The other is laid up in a hospital with the Feds eagerly awaiting to question him and salivating at the fact that he may be declared an enemy combatant.

In between the bombings and the capture of “suspect 2” the John Kings, Anderson Coopers, Geraldo Riveras, Shepard Smiths, Chris Hayes, and all the little minions that work for their respective networks just stirring up the pot of shit like they always do.  Latching on to any little detail that is put out and making something from absolutely nothing.  John King and his really not very accurate law enforcement “sources” got more wrong than they did right, often leading to dissension in the ranks of the CNN crew as they pointed fingers at each other.  Fox was absolutely no better in their coverage as they took it upon themselves to both tie the brothers to an Al Qaeda off shot group in Russia and repeatedly mistake the sounds of flashbangs going off for a gun battle.  Hell, one of the FOX reporters even had the balls to describe in vivid detail “My gunfight” from the night the older brother was killed; what a piece of shit.  The only time I saw anything of the victims being reported on was when it could be tied to continue the fervor against the brothers.

On top of all this shitty reporting we have the conspiracy theorists just adding their own special blend of crap to the equation.  Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, Infowars and all the other tin-foil hat wearing crowd are just full of conspiracy as a result of the events of this week.  Between the two ends of this equation the American public is just eating it up like Honey Boo Boo’s family at a Golden Corral buffet.

The best of all this is yet to come.  We now eagerly await the interrogation and the results of all the evidence that was gathered which is just now getting the attention it deserves.  A significant portion of Boston and it’s suburbs are now a crime scene.  There will be more rumor and speculation and for sure more conspiracy theory floating out there in the ether.  It is a sad state of affairs this 24 hour news cycle.  I hope somewhere along the line this gets back to the victims, both the sadness and the strength.  It is their amazing stories that will allow the country to move on, which will force the country to move on.  In the end whatever happens to this shithead is simply justice, the lessons are in those who will overcome their injuries, their fears and their losses.  The lessons are in those who will not be able to overcome what they have been through and the long term effects on their families and loved ones.

If law enforcement and government were smart they would stop holding press conferences.  They would type up a press release that says in no uncertain terms what they want it to say.  Then they would use social media as a means of distributing that information and take absolutely no questions from the press.  It may be a Constitutional right, this freedom of the press thing, but that does not mean that anyone actually has to speak to them.

We the people deserve better from those whose careers are made by us watching them.  We should demand better than what we receive.  Instead of receiving a product, and a piss-poor one at that, we should receive information.  We do not currently get that from the networks, we get a ready made template just waiting to be filled in and delivered with whatever is the flavor of the day.  What we need is a National Media Blackout Day.  Just one full day in which no one watches the news.  A day in which everyone uses social media as a means to tell the media outlets over and over again that no one is watching them.

I have a new respect for the city of Boston after all they have been through this week.  My condolences for those who lost loved ones in this senseless tragedy and best wishes and speedy recoveries to those who were injured.  I hope those who need it seek the help they may need from the wounds they cannot yet see.  The greatest of respect to all the law enforcement and emergency responders for all they did during the week.  Most of all a nod of respect to the volunteers and bystanders who overcame their fear and shock in the aftermath of the explosions to render aid and comfort to those who so desperately needed it.  You have done the city where the American Revolution began proud.