By Frank Lewis
Americans have a very short attention span. Presidents are elected by 15 second soundbytes on a commercial or newscast and not by people researching that person’s experience. There are people who are not able to concentrate on their children in a restaurant because they can’t take their eyes off their electronic devices long enough to interact.
I am going to make it my personal mission to make sure people do not forget we have a local unit on active duty in Afghanistan. To be sure, at any one time, there are scores of local men and women serving around the world, and I, probably like most, have just taken them for granted, and not bothered to concentrate on making sure their needs are met.
But this time, after watching the 1191st Engineer Company pull out Friday, I have decided I want to be involved in keeping them in top of mind awareness.
I snapped one photo that has haunted me night and day. It is one of those once-in-a-lifetime photos of a young woman leaning against a soldier just minutes before the troops pulled out. That, to me, captured the essence of the moment. There will be wives and husbands, children, parents and friends who will not see these soldiers for a year. Their entire lives will be uprooted. Now, one person will be doing the work of two where the home and family are concerned.
Now, let me again make it clear that I know this has been going on for as long as there have been armies. But let me also make it clear that I have chosen this deployment to begin the process of not taking our military for granted anymore.
My wife and I plan on getting addresses once they settle in, and to begin the process of having our church adopt some of the local people who are on deployment, and to do what we can to help their families back home. Tammy Sigman, one of the originators of the Family Readiness Group, says there are people who need services, such as mowing, fixing electric appliances and cars that break down. I am asking people with such skills to make themselves known to the group through American Legion Post 23 and Joanie Book, who will be the liaison.
I want to make sure no one forgets these people. They need to receive care packages from home, and assistance for their families back here worrying about their safety.
Now, the most important thing you can do to assist them - pray. I’m not saying say a prayer. I’m saying to pray from deep inside your spirit, from the heart, and ask for God’s protection on them and their families.
Isaiah 41:10 - “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.