"There is a certain enthusiasm in
liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and
I wonder how many people in the United States have visited the gravesites of
soldiers who fought in wars representing our country. It is a very sobering
experience to actually read the epitaphs written in memorial to the men who
would willingly put their own lives in harms way in order to extend or
preserve the freedom of others. These men – sometimes women and, in some
cases, children serving as drummers during revolutionary and civil war eras
– were called to duty and accepted whatever fate awaited them as part of
their cross to bear during their lifetime. It takes a great deal of courage
to march into battle. I can’t imagine what they felt when they were
confronted by any loss of life. I can’t speculate on the depth of
bereavement each of their families faced with the loss of a loved one who
died in service to their country.
Because of my respect and appreciation for these heroes (all are heroes in
my mind), my husband and I have made it a point to visit Cantigny on
Memorial Day to remember the 1st Army soldiers whose division has been
deployed in combat situations since the revolutionary war. We often visit a
cemetery in our hometown and read the stones of those who fought in the
Civil War. Please don’t draw the wrong conclusion, we don’t glorify war. We
would like to see peace and freedom co-exist in our lifetime. But we
understand that sometimes there must be war to ensure God’s given freedom to
pursue happiness during our lifetime. George W. Bush understood this,
visibly effected when he made the decision to send young men and women into
As a teacher, if my students were put in harms way, it would be expected
that I put their needs before my own. And it is my hope that,
unhesitatingly, I would put their needs first if actually faced with a life
and death situation. These kids are under my care when they are in my
classroom and I believe it to be one of my duties to see to it that each day
returned to the care of their parents safe and sound. This brings to mind a
Seinfeld episode where George, faced with a small fire, pushed all
the women and children out of his way when he ran out of the house. I would
hope, faced with the same situation, I would respond heroically.
Why all this talk about heroes and death? Well, I was recently asked a hard
question, "Would I still want our forces in Iraq if my son had to go fight?”
Upon reflection, the natural course of events would have it that my own
death precedes that of my sons’ and my parents’ deaths precede that of my
own. I would much rather fight to protect the life of my boys than have them
fight to protect mine. However, sometimes events occur which dictate the way
things have to go. I keep going back to The Passion of the Christ and
thinking about how Mary had to watch her son give his life for mankind.
Regardless of how noble the cause, she still had to bear the pain of losing
her son and of the wounds inflicted upon him. She could not take on what was
his burden to bear.
In the history of this country, there have been many sons of many mothers
who have had to go off to war. We wouldn’t be living under our present
circumstances if their mothers said that they wouldn’t let them fight. We
probably wouldn’t be Americans. We might be British.
Families who raise soldiers understand something called duty and
responsibility to their country. Sometimes we have to sacrifice for the good
of everyone. In Israel, everyone must serve in the military for a few years.
That is the law. It is understood that the country has to fight terrorism
and other enemies. It’s not up for debate whether or not anybody wants to
fight. It is simply their duty.
If my sons grow up to be firemen or policemen they would be putting
themselves in harms way on a daily basis. How am I to know that one day they
won’t walk into the World Trade Center of their generation and not walk out
again? Understanding this possibility, I would try not to let my fears stand
in the way of being supportive and proud of their choices. If fear wins out,
who is left to perform these noble deeds? If my sons enlist in the military,
I would try not to let my fears stand in the way of being supportive and
proud of their choices. If mothers never let go, our current generation
wouldn’t have the freedom to speculate about this and we wouldn’t have the
choice to serve our country in the present situation. As Americans, we
accept the challenges life hands us.
Some of our children will grow up to be policemen, firemen, and soldiers. It
is understood that these are dangerous jobs. Some of our children will be
called upon to carry out their duties and not come home. That is the cross
that every parent may someday have to shoulder. Should it come to this in my
own life, I hope that I will be able to support my sons decisions to serve
in this capacity with pride and that their bravery will not be given in
Click here to read some very
moving emails that Nancy Salvato got in response to this piece.
Nancy Salvato is a middle school teacher in Illinois and an independent
contractor for Prism Educational Consulting. She is the Educational Liaison
to IL Sen. Ray Soden and she works with national and local organizations
furthering the cause of Civic Education. She is a columnist for American
Daily, The Common Voice, GOP-USA, OpinionEditorials and The New Media Journal.us. Her
writing has been recognized by the US Secretary of Education. She has been published in
The Washington Times, The Washington Dispatch,
Iconoclast, Free Republic Network & Townhall.com., as well as other
nationally and internationally published media outlets.