Last night I was reminded why we live in the greatest country.
Watching the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS, (http://www.pbs.org/memorialdayconcert/) I felt we’re getting better at honoring those who give so much to keep our country free.
We’re getting better because after September 11th we began recognizing the real value the United States Coast Guard provides in protecting our shorelines. Last night the concert added the National Guard to the list of armed services. I was happy to see all facets of our military honored at the Memorial Day Concert.
But the event also made the reality of war even worse as we become more aware of its lingering consequences.
Co-hosts Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinese role-played two brothers, Joe and Earl Granville, who enlisted in the National Guard and were called into combat after 9/11. This moving story reminded me of the long lingering and tragic results of war. The following is from the PBS National Memorial Concert website.
The Longest Wars – The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are two of America’s longest military conflicts, surpassed only by the war in Vietnam. In the 13-year period of our two most recent wars, more than 6600 service members have perished and over 50,000 have been wounded in action. Of those deployed, 28% of the force is comprised of National Guard and Reserve troops, and greater than 15% of the total force have deployed three times or more.
Joe and Earl Granville’s Story
Two weeks before 9/11, close-knit brothers Joe and Earl Granville started basic training in the National Guard, expecting a traditional deployment in domestic disaster relief and other aid efforts. Within a few months they were called up to provide security in Bosnia. In the summer of 2005 the brothers volunteered for service in Iraq, returning home by June of 2006. In that year of conflict, the brothers experienced a level of danger, destruction, and loss that would change their lives and those of their family forever. Continue reading