Bob Okun of ThanksUSA writes in the Wall Street Journal
Stop what you’re doing and simply listen for a moment so you may hear a conversation that is going on across America. It is not about who will be the next president, but about why average citizens aren’t more fully engaged in the war on terror.
Why haven’t we all been asked by our leaders to give more of ourselves as in previous wars? And most importantly, what can and should we all do about the national disconnect between citizen and soldier?
In part, most of us have gone on with our lives with minimal interruption because we are fighting an intensive, protracted two-front war with an all-volunteer force. Only a relatively small slice of American society, myself included, has any real connection to the brave men and women in uniform protecting our freedoms every day. Fewer still have any idea what their families are going through as they wait for their service members to come home.
What started as a kitchen-table idea evolved into ThanksUSA, a national nonprofit dedicated to providing post-secondary school scholarships to the children and spouses of those serving on active duty, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 1,000 military family members in all 50 states and D.C. have already received vocational and college scholarships, and another round will be awarded this year. Hundreds of thousands of other military families need and deserve a variety of support from community members, civic leaders, corporate leaders and all Americans as they set out to reclaim and reassemble their lives in the coming years.
Since the war began, there have been some shining examples, “best practices” in corporate-speak, of businesses supporting the troops and their families.
Home Depot, CVS and Dell have reached out to hire military spouses. Freddie Mac, purchaser of residential mortgages, has helped injured soldiers and their families to manage their finances upon re-entry to civilian life. Entrepreneurs such as Dan Caulfield (a veteran) recently created Hire a Hero, using the Internet to help returning service members connect with eager businesses seeking skilled workers.
Other service organizations are involved, including Fisher House, which provides housing near hospitals for families of wounded veterans, and information clearinghouses for military families such as America Supports You, as well as the modern USO, all doing their part daily to help military personnel.
Read it here (subscribers).
From the way he writes it appears Mr. Okun supports the war on terror. Many of us did not support the war in Iraq, but does that alienate us from his mission to mend the disconnection between citizen and soldier? Many rail that it would not continue if there was a draft, because the pain would be felt by politicians. There is recognition of pain and it is used for argumentation. But few of us ask what can we as citizens do for those soldiers who have felt the pain.