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Friday, September 18, 2015
A Look You Never Forget…
Over the years I have met quite a few men who were prisoners of war. Obviously, these weren’t long discussions but there were moments when the topic somehow came up and there were a few brief glimpses into what they experienced. It is during these 30 second clips that seems to last for days when you can see all they want to tell you in the way they squint and stair right through you one second and seem like they are in another world far from the reality of the present the next instant. The exact details each time may vary but those looks remain constant.
These are the moment in life when you can’t say anything, you can’t relate, you can’t really help. All you can do is listen. That is all that is needed at that point. As I have been told many times over, ‘sometimes there just needs to be someone there to listen. Not to offer their opinion or sympathy. Just someone who takes the time, pays attention, doesn’t judge, and just listens.’ Thankfully I have never once forgotten that and I have applied this to many other situations when the trauma is evident in the face and eyes of the person with whom I am speaking.
I have seen this look in the eyes of family, friends, and one of the few people with whom I have a shared (albeit brief) military experience. It is a look that has become all too common and I sometimes wonder what ever happened to the men and women from my platoon. It has been over 13 years and I keep thinking about whether this day is honoring some of those with whom I spent a summer in Missouri. Actually, it really isn’t a question of ‘if’, it is a question of how many does this apply to.
There are countless people who fought to stay alive as prisoners and more that are still missing. These are good men and women who fought for what they believed to be right and they fought for the soldiers beside them. We honor them on this day, National POW / KIA Recognition Day, especially the ones who fought to rescue a soldier who many believe to be a traitor. It is rather ironic that the Bergdahl trail is going on as this day presents itself on the calendar. Many men were KIA trying to rescue a deserter who, while seen as many as a traitor, was also seen by others as a POW. However, for now, this day is NOT meant to honor you Bowe!