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(DV) Benderman: Support the Troops: Earn the Sacrifice







Support the Troops: Earn the Sacrifice
by Monica Benderman
July 22, 2005

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The wife of a US National Guardsman wrote that if her husband were to have died during his tour of duty in Iraq, “I would be promoting all the good he did in this world and not downsizing it and belittling the efforts he and his comrades made.” (Shona Emery, NH Union Leader, July 15). My husband DID NOT ENLIST TO DEFEND HIS COUNTRY SO THAT ORDINARY CITIZENS COULD REMAIN FREE TO ABUSE THE SYSTEM. 

“All the good he did in this world” has not stopped war from happening. “All the good he did in this world” has not stopped the citizens of this country from misinterpreting the sacrifice of people like her husband. 

Sure, soldiers have given their lives to defend their country. Sure, there is honor in their belief that what they did was right, and there is hope that good will come out of it.  DOES THE GOOD COME? Seriously, think about it. Where are the results of our soldiers' good efforts? What are Americans doing to earn the freedoms and rights that our soldiers fought to defend?

Americans insist on driving around with those little yellow stickers saying “support the troops,” and honestly I think that most of them have forgotten that they even put those stickers on their cars. 

What do I see? I see a country that spends thousands more dollars than any vehicle is worth on a “super-sized gas-guzzling mega-ride” just because they are “FREE” to do so.  “It is their right.” It doesn't matter that thousands of soldiers have died to preserve our right to have all the oil we need to produce all the gas we need, at a surplus cost, just so we can remain “FREE” to drive the stupid things. My husband DID NOT DEFEND HIS COUNTRY for people to have the right to abuse the system.

I see a country who faints with exhaustion when the temperatures get above 80 degrees, and the air conditioners are on for the duration, set at indoor temperatures which, if occurring in the outdoors would be considered too cold.  But – “It is their right.” and Americans are “FREE” to do so, because of the “good that my husband has done in the world” by fighting in far off lands to preserve our freedoms. My husband DID NOT DEFEND HIS COUNTRY for people to have the right to abuse the system.

Feel FREE to go to any landfill and survey the waste -- the plastic, the vinyl, the containers and bags -- OIL -- wasted OIL -- at almost $60.00 a barrel -- laying there tossed away because Americans are FREE to throw away what they get tired of, and replace it with new plastic, vinyl -- wrapped in bags and packed in containers that used still more OIL to be produced.  But, “it is their right,” and this is the way the honor and the sacrifice of all of the veterans who have ever served this country to defend our freedoms are supported.

Visit any homeless shelter in this country and look into the eyes of the people there, grateful for the food they are given, and the simple bed they have to sleep in. Then, look in someone's trash and see exactly what he/she didn't eat for dinner, what they didn't store for another day's leftover meals -- WASTE -- but “it is their right.”  They are FREE because soldiers have died defending their right to abuse the system.  I don't think so.

My husband did not serve his country, did not put his life on the line to defend the freedoms of this country, so that the few could abuse their privileges while so many struggled to have what they need. He did not serve his country so that business managers could receive paychecks for 40-hour work weeks while spending half of the time they should be working on the golf course. He did not serve his country to defend their right to work as they pleased while the real WORKERS, the people who made the company strong enough to make a profit, were paid minimum wage with no health benefits, and “fire at will” policies. 

FREEDOM -- hard fought, and so abused. The freedoms that my husband fought for and defended were the freedoms for every individual to have the right to make good choices.  Those freedoms are based on the belief that every individual will use sound judgment in making those choices, and will not abuse their freedom by allowing their individual rights to infringe on the rights of others. Where is that happening these days? At what place can I go to see that consideration, thoughtfulness, and concern for humanity other than ourselves is being practiced in a manner consistent with the FREEDOMS and RIGHTS laid out in our US Constitution? These are the FREEDOMS and RIGHTS that my husband served to defend. 

Support our soldiers and our veterans, but not by placing one more yellow ribbon on a vehicle. Don't you know -- it takes oil to produce the materials to produce those yellow ribbons? 

Support the “good works” of our soldiers and our veterans by making a sacrifice EQUAL to the sacrifice they made in defending YOUR FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS. PLEASE -- support them by living according to the standards of humanity that justify your having those RIGHTS.  In my book -- there is no other way to “support our troops.” 

Monica Benderman is the wife of Sgt. Kevin Benderman, and can be reached at: Sgt. Kevin Benderman is stationed at Ft. Stewart, Georgia. He has served on combat tour in Iraq. After seeing war firsthand, he made the decision to file for Conscientious Objector status in December 2004. His command refused the request, and filed charges of Missing Movement and Desertion against him. They have since added a charge of Larceny. Sgt. Benderman is scheduled to face a second attempt at Courts Martial for these charges on July 28, and Ft. Stewart.  Please visit:

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Other Articles by Kevin and Monica Benderman

* One Soldier’s Fight to Legalize Morality
* An Open Letter to My Husband’s Chain of Command: The Players of the Game
* The Freedom of Choice
* A Matter of Conscience

* One Man Has Stopped Killing: Hope for More to Do the Same
An Open Letter to Our Leaders From a Concerned Iraq War Soldier

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