Some things are worth fighting for
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
I was a college student at the University of Montevallo when the Gulf War broke out. I had fallen asleep on my sofa one afternoon when a knock on my door jostled me out of my sleep.
It was my next door neighbor, Jimmy.
"The war has started," he said. "Come over and watch it with us."
And that's what we did. Five or six college kids sat around and watched a war – our first – on CNN. We even recorded it.
I still have the video tape.
For the remainder of the Gulf War, we kept an eye on our television sets, watching the war. Around campus, signs and bulletin boards had patriotic messages, supporting our troops.
For us, it was a nice, clean made-for-television war.
Our new war, even though it's against the same old enemies, seems very different.
This time, we all were sitting on the edge of our seats just waiting for the war to begin. It started with a flash and then seemed to rush headlong into a barrage of gunfire, bombs and missiles.
Just as in the first Gulf War, we heard reports of troop movements, airplane flights, Patriot missiles and the Republican Guard.
Then we heard reports of Americans being captured, injured and killed.
This wasn't a CNN show or a video game -this was war and it was the most brutal my generation has seen.
In a book published in 2000, broadcaster Tom Brokaw described those who fought in World War II as "the greatest generation." They earned this name, he said, because of their selfless devotion to country, their heroism and their commitment to a greater cause.
Perhaps this is the time when my generation will prove itself. Perhaps.
All I know is that while I believe we're fighting a just cause, it doesn't make the scenes of battle any easier to deal with.
Behind each one of those news reports of a killed, injured or missing soldier is a person. Behind each person is a family and community hoping their loved one comes home safely. But that's not always going to be the case.
It's been said that Americans don't have the stomach to fight a war. I don't think that's the case. I just think we place a high value on human life and will only allow it to be sacrificed for the highest reasons.
British philosopher John Stuart Mills said it well back in 1859 when he said "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse."
In other words, there are some things worth fighting – and even dying – for.