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Note: This is from an ongoing conservative political blog at Rough Men at the Ready

Hardships

“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.”― C.S. Lewis

The Troubles I've Seen

I saw this on a picture today and posted it to the Rough Men at the Ready Facebook page. I thought it was insightful and very much on point. I then begin to turn it over again and again in my head. I began to reminisce about the hardships that I have faced during my journey through this realm we call life. I have joked many times about just how hard I had it growing up poor in the South. I had the opportunity to live in South America for about 2 1/2 years and this is where I first witnessed true hardship. I saw a level of poverty that I do not have the words to describe. My worst day would be paradise for some of the wretched souls I met.

But even with what I considered deplorable conditions and owning nothing of value, the vast majority of these people were tapped into a joy and happiness that few will ever obtain. They fully depended upon God, family, and friends because they had no other choice. They built bonds that would make brothers jealous. They knew the true value of community and sharing each other’s’ burden. Needless to say, once I was back in what most would consider civilization, I had a greater appreciation for my God, my country, and my family. Compared to 99 % of the world, I was wealthy beyond measure and I was ashamed about how nonchalant I had been.

Our Brave Warriors

While I was turning the above quote over and over in my mind, my thoughts began to dwell on our brave warriors. These 18 and 19 year old soldiers will see more pain and suffering in one day in the “sandbox” than I have in my entire 16 year career as a cop. They have a keen understanding of brotherhood and sharing the burden of your neighbor. It embarrasses me as a U. S. citizen that these brave men and women return home to countless hurdles and difficulties making sure our government fulfill its end of their enlistment contract by providing medical needs, tuition, and job placement assistance. Not to mention the abandonment they feel from other Americans that trivialize the hell that they have lived through or try to use them as political chess pieces to push some pork filled legislation that will in no way positively benefit our soldiers and veterans. If we are to truly believe C. S. Lewis' quote, then the horrific hardships that these warriors have prevailed against should make them be deemed as princes and princesses in our eyes and their destiny should be far greater than what we are providing as a nation.

Hardships to Heroes

It is high time that our soldiers and veterans are treated as the national treasures that they are. The hardships that they endure scar them in ways that the average man and woman cannot imagine and that, in my opinion, calls for recognition. Every Roughman that every put on a uniform and served others before he served his self should have an “extraordinary destiny” waiting when wearing that uniform is no longer needed. But the most amazing thing is these brave, selfless men and women don't want a handout, they don't want a free ride. They want the opportunity and support from the people that they fought for to help them find their destiny themselves with the same dedication and fervor that they used to overcome the hardships of combat and conflict. These hardships honed them like iron and regardless of what our politicians may show with their actions, they are heroes and should be treated as such. So the next time you see a soldier or veteran eating, drinking, or out and about with their family make them feel like the hero that they are and look them in the eye, shake their hand, thank them for their service, and pick up their tab. It may seem like a small gesture to you but respect can be the most valuable gift you ever give these amazing men and women. Godspeed Roughmen.

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