These words came from John Kerry in a Congressional testimony in 1971 about the Vietnam War. While we will not know for months, perhaps years, to come, whether or not the Iraq War was a mistake, David Hickman’s family will be wondering for a long while.
David Hickman was, as of now, the last soldier to die in the war in Iraq. He was killed two weeks and one day before he was due home, after being deployed around Memorial Day of this year. He was killed on November 14th, one day after he spoke with his family about how excited he was to be home for Christmas. Shortly before midnight the following day, Army officials showed up in Greensboro to inform David’s parents that their son had been killed after a roadside bomb ripped through his armored truck.
After eight years, seven months, and twenty five days in Iraq, there have been 4,474 knocks just like that on the doors of family members who have lost loved ones to this war. Personally, I do not believe that today is a day to analyze whether our efforts in Iraq were worth it; there will be months and years of that coming. Right now, we need to be focused on our soldiers. Our soldiers who have been fighting in Iraq for almost a decade to protect the freedom that is such an intricate part of our nation. They put others above themselves and many of those serving next to them gave the ultimate sacrifice.
There will be plenty of time to analyze the purpose, effects, and outcome of this war. I personally believe that we were in Iraq too long; we were justified in going to war in the beginning, but it went on too long. However, we need to be focused on giving the aid our returning soldiers and their families will need. Unless a person has been in their shoes, no one of us can know the needs and struggles that they will face coming home. We need to really engulf these soldiers in gratitude as often as possible, and show them that their sacrifice was not in vain. The months they lost away from their families was not taken for granted. Both those who supported this war and those who opposed it ought to be overcome by the sacrifice of these men and women.
We entered the Iraq war to help fight the spread of terrorism; since entering that war, we have killed some of the world’s most wanted terrorists. This is a day to celebrate our military men and women, the courage and sacrifice that they embody, and thank them for their service. We must ensure that it is not taken for granted.