This poem is floating around the net. It is pretty powerful.
The Path I Have Chosen Must Be Taken Alone (Author Unknown)
You stay up for 16 hours, He stays up for days on end;
You take a warm shower to help you wake up,
He goes days or weeks without running water;
You complain of a "headache", and call in sick, He gets shot at as others are hit, and keeps moving forward;
You put on your anti war/don't support the troops shirt, and go meet up with your friends, He still fights for your right to wear that shirt;
You talk trash about your "buddies" that aren't with you, He knows he may not see some of his buddies again;
You complain about how hot it is, He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow;
You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong,He doesn't get to eat today;
Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes, He wears the same things for weeks, but makes sure his weapons are clean;
You go to the mall and get your hair redone, He doesn't have time to brush his teeth today; You're angry because your class ran 5 minutes over, He's told he will be held over an extra 2 months;
You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight, He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home;
You roll your eyes as a baby cries, He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet;
You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything, He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting;
You see only what the media wants you to see, He sees the broken bodies lying around him.
It's powerful by itself. One version has pictures add to it that really make you stop. But then you talk to a soldier and they say little things that if you are listening.. truly listening... make you think. I had one of those conversation with one of my son's brothers in arms. Sgt. L and I were chatting on the instant messenger. (I am blessed that I get to talk to several of my son's company regularly.) As always the topic of coming home came up. I asked what he was looking forward to the most expecting the typical my family, a beer or quiet answer. I got "porcelain toilets" and "clean sheets". I laughed a little then it occurred to me that yeah he had jokingly replied that but it was also a fact. I had to stop and look at my life and take in all the things I and others take for granted. Little things like porcelain toilets and clean sheets. We never think about it. But if you've ever been in a port a potty you they are nasty and smelly and no one really wants to use them. But we don't ever stop to appreciate the clean porcelain toilets with running water in our homes. And we change our sheets as often as we like. Knowing we can wash the ones we've just removed or pull another set out of the closet.
What else do we forget to appreciate in life? Do you appreciate your young child interrupting you to show you the drawing he made for you? Or being able to drive to the corner store for a candy bar when ever you want? Or being able to stumble to the kitchen during the commerical break to raid the frig?
Take a minute today and look at your life and see what you have.. the little things we take for granted that those who protect us from the evil of this world do not have.