A resolution to thank troops 

Of the 310 million Americans, 1,445,000 are on active duty in the uniformed services of the military, and another 833,000 are in the reserves.

Less than 1 percent of the country protects the rest of us against every threat across the globe, including North Korean nutters, Somali pirates, Islamists in Afghanistan and Iraq, fanatics in Iran, drug cartels in Mexico, and old-fashioned near-peer powers with nukes, fleets and air forces.

Recently my path crossed those of a Navy chaplain, a Navy SEAL, a Marine 2nd Lieutenant just graduated from The Basic School and a naval aviator.

Each individual I spoke with is an extraordinary man, in love with his high calling and eager to be about the missions he was trained for. All are good-humored and humble, and also very clear-eyed about the difficulty of the work they do and the tasks ahead.

With the start, most Americans will realize that we are in the 10th year of a long war, but fewer and fewer of them will make the connection between that war and their ability to live the lives they have chosen in near complete freedom.

When the various enemies of the country break in upon our awareness, it isn’t for very long and it is only rarely with any sense of personal threat. Since that terrible day the 10th anniversary of which we will mark in less than nine months, the war has been pushed steadily back by our military and held far off by their courage and sacrifice.

Of the approximately 2 million Americans who have served in Afghanistan, Iraq or other combat operations in the past decade, nearly 6,000 have been killed and more than 30,000 wounded.

Each month of the war brings more sacrifice and more pain for families and friends, but, of all the members of the military and their families that I meet, I do not hear complaints about that cost, though I do hear resigned recognition that the war just doesn’t matter much to the average American.

The networks will do cutaways to far-off bases during big holiday football games, and media will carry front-page reports of distant battles or of suddenly-explosive standoffs on the Korean peninsula, but rarely does the focus clarify the real men and women in uniform on that front line or their families praying for their safety far away.

President Barack Obama’s finest moment in 2010 was his trip to Afghanistan at Thanksgiving to celebrate with the troops he commands. His Christmas Day visit to the Marines in Hawaii was another welcome exercise in example for every American.

There will be about a half-billion resolutions made in the week ahead, and most of them will be discarded by mid-month. The best resolutions will follow the president’s lead and commit to at least an occasional recognition of and thanks offered to the troops who have, for a decade, been the country’s shield.

There are numerous ways to mark this resolution — a monthly contribution to the Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund, Soldiers Angels or Ficher House, or a daily visit to Blackfive.net, MudvilleGazette.com or some other military blog or website are easy enough commitments to keep.

Expressed gratitude to the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and their families is probably the most important expression of such a resolution. After a decade of war, that is the one New Year’s goal that the vast majority of Americans ought to be able to agree upon.

Examiner Columnist Hugh Hewitt is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who blogs daily at HughHewitt.com.

About The Author

Hugh Hewitt


Hugh Hewitt is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who blogs daily at HughHewitt.com.

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