Even in dire circumstances, there is good: an Armed Forces Day Musing

Supporting those who fight for our Flag, Motherhood and Apple PieWhile many joyful things are happening personally for our family * with daily blessings too numerous to count, we live each day dealing with the darkness going on in many parts of our world.

It can feel overwhelming at times, doesn’t it?

Neighborhood, city, state, and national news is downright depressing.  Internationally, things seem even worse, with trouble spots in Sri Lanka, the Horn of Africa, Korea, and of course, Afghanistan and Pakistan -which is such a hot spot,  so intertwined, and so incendiary, that our government has begun to just call it AfPak for short.

I was reminded by gifted artist and brilliant colleague Louis Hall,  a while back, that in even the most dire situations we need to draw attention to the good. It’s hard to remember to do this these days, and seems even harder to find the good.  But that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

I got an e-mail from my son this morning, telling me that from his perspective, 95% of what American (and Canadian, and Australian) troops are doing in Afghanistan is basic, fundamental nation building. Some might say it’s self-serving to call this “doing good” – –  I say hogwash.

Did you know that our military and some very brave civilians are:

  • building roads and bridges that transverse the incredibly rough geography that has separated this region, prohibited communications and commerce,  and kept people “tribal” for centuries?
  • working along side the Afghani nationals to improve agriculture with windmills to help pump irrigation to soy bean fields, and livestock/animal husbandry and veteraniary assistance? Yes they can grow more than poppies!
  • building clinics where women can get basic healthcare? Why is it we don’t hear about the free clinic for women in Afghanistan, that female US Army troops have opened on their own time, with their own money?
  • building schools, and teaching the Afghani people how to read? Afghanistan is a country whose overall literacy rate is estimated at 28%. Approximately 4 out of 10 men, and 1 out of 10 women can read. I need to put this into context: Women living under Sharia law don’t have equal rights. There’s no reason to spend time, energy, much less money, teaching them to read. The committed efforts of many teachers are changing this one dynamic, which will change the Afghani people and the world as they view it, and hopefuly, the world as we know it, too.

So on this  Armed Forces day, the day we honor and thank all our military – past and present – for their efforts to keep us safe, and keep us free,  let’s also make sure we illuminate the good they do, in the direst of circumstances.  Thanks much for your help in getting this good word out.

*I. the impending birth of our first grandbaby by daughter #4

II. engagement of daughter #2 means

III. wonderful new son-in-law soon-to-be in our  family

IV. mom’s 85th birthday,  wholly recuperated after a rough medical patch last fall



1 Response to “Even in dire circumstances, there is good: an Armed Forces Day Musing”

  1. 1 applepiemom
    May 18, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Have to add a PS to this post. Since it went live, I’ve read Bouhammer’s recent post on his “Keeping an Eye on Afghanistan” blog, entitled, “Can you look at my wife?” (link here: http://www.bouhammer.com/2009/05/can-you-look-at-my-wife/ ).

    This one post illuminates MOST of the needs identified in “there is good” – the need for healthcare – especially for women, the need for literacy, the need for infrastructure. Please take time to read it. You may be shocked, but I guarantee you’ll find it worth the read. thank you.

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