On Sunday, the day before Memorial Day 2012, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes said he was “uncomfortable” calling America’s fallen military “heroes.”
“I feel comfortable, ah, uncomfortable, about the word [heroes] because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war,” he stammered.
“Um,” he added, “and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.”
I agree with Mr. Hayes. Yes I the mother of a man who was killed in action in Iraq agree with him. My son did not become a hero on Feb. 24th 2008 the day he died. He became a hero on Sept. 24th 2005 the day he signed his contract with the US Army to serve this nation during a time of war.
Let me tell you about both those days.
On Feb. 24th 2008 my 19 yr old son was driving on an escort mission. His was the second vehicle in the convoy. His vehicle was hit in the driver side door by an EFP (Explosive Formed Projectile ) Both of his legs were amputated at the pelvis. He was worked on by his medic and would smile and even speak to those who were with him. He tried to reassure them. He would later die in surgery having lost too much blood. My son did not make the choice to be hit that day. It was part of war that we all knew was a possibility. But he bravely maintained his smile and never allowed his spirit to be broken.
Now let me tell you about Sept. 24th 2005 when my 17 yr old son was sitting at his recruiters desk. He had passed his testing and physicals and only had to sign the dotted line. His recruiter put his hand over the line where my son was to sign. “You are joining the United States Army during a time of war. You have chosen a combat infantry MOS and you will be deployed to a combat zone where you may be injured or killed. Do you understand this?” “ Yes Sir” “Do you still want to sign?” “Yes Sir.”
The difference between these two days is my son knowingly stood up and signed to serve this Nation and the greater good on Sept. 24 2005. He knew the risks and he also knew the need to stop the terrorist and to give freedom to those who had none or little. So yes Mr. Hayes to the extent that dying did not make my son or any other man or woman killed in war a hero I agree. They were and are heroes long before the war wounds or kills them. They are heroes when they courageously put themselves at risk by investing their lives in this nation and freedom.
Mr. Hayes.. I feel somewhat sorry for you.. that you have never loved anything or anyone enough to stand up and put your life on the line to fight for it. You see that is what makes a hero.. something you obviously do not understand.