Disclaimer

The views expressed within this journal are my own, and in no way represent the views or policies of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or any other official agency.

Monday, July 14, 2008

This is war. I'll make it my very own...

I'm standing on the edge of what I cannot escape. A tragic battle has risen within me. Sooner or later the vast fears of billions of individuals will concern me as well. Heaven versus Hell is a constant reminder of the consequences of our actions taken in this plane. The echoes of an eternity... wait inside of me.

We are, without a doubt, the unwitting products of our environments. As we grow up, certain events mold and shape who we are. Our personalities are sculpted by religion, class of society, places we live, and the many people involved in our daily lives.

Morals are created by the inevitability that you will inherently choose to do what is viewed as wrong. However minor these actions may be, there will still be judgment passed upon you. You, the defendant in these actions, will be found... lacking. Guilt, remorse - these are born within you as a failsafe of the soul. They keep you on track, and continue to guide your actions until you one day return to the earth.

So what does this have to do with war? What of an eternity?

Religion reinforces many things having familiarity with morals. I have always viewed myself in some light as being a Christian. However, due to my life experiences thus far, I am not yet 100% certain on my beliefs. Up until recently, I was never worried about any judgment other than my peers; social pressure. But then it happens.

There is an event in your life that shatters the pristine innocence about you. It can be monumental. It can be minuscule. But it will create a new time line; before and after. You will remember it for the rest of your days as a turning point - possibly a paradigm shift. You will see yourself in a different light from this point on. No longer will you be the Earth, center of the universe. Yet, thanks to your very own Galileo, you will be the Earth, sharing only a small slice of the universal pie.

I am a soldier in the United States Army. I have men that I lead into whatever this country has in store for us. These men were raised with their own visions of what is right and what is wrong. I, along with every other leader they've encountered, have also reinforced the values of the Army. We have been taught thoroughly, during our short existence, values of which we should stand proud. Cut and dry, black and white... these are phrases we use to show the differences of our right and wrong.

There is a terrible thing that lurks beneath these values. Not everything is cut and dry as you know. When the black and white becomes gray, no one is safe from judgment; be it their own.

My soldiers will know this feeling for the rest of their days. I will know it each morning I awake, and each second that I sleep. It will slowly become a war within us. Some will lump us into the PTSD crowd, combating our feelings with prescription medicine. Doctors and psychologists will try to justify the reactions our minds are having. It's not a justification I'm looking for. It's inner peace.

It is becoming very apparent that I have a decision to make. A war of morals will be waged in the hearts of the bravest men. Should I rely on a religion or a spiritual path to guarantee that heaven is the side we're working for? Or should the conviction of my own morals be the judgment used in this war?

I would hope that I've lived good enough that a religious choice not be made solely for salvation - as silly as that sounds. Only time will tell. But one thing is certain for now...

We've made it to tomorrow.

23 comments:

Tony (aka: Dad) said...

War.... it is never thought of as something personal by most people.... except those who tragically experience it firsthand...

... it is a tragedy that anyone, especially young men and woman such as yourselves, have to go through the pain and mental anguish that is laid out before you.



Thanks for the instant messages tonight T!!!

Thanks also for getting your web cam up and running!!!

It was awesome getting to see your face this evening!!!

You are my ROCK!!!!

You are my sole purpose for existing!!!

Be safe and see you in 2 or so months!

Love Dad

Bro. Bartleby said...

I would think on a micro scale, when one's livelihood or life or home/land or lifestyle/tradition or beliefs are threatened with an "either or" and nothing in between, then one either hightails to safer grounds, or stands one's grounds. And as history forever notes, the "either or" choice quickly transforms into a "life/death" choice, for to give up ones "all of the above" is the same as death for many, so fight or war suddenly becomes that which even intelligent beings think the final hope of retaining one's life/livelihood/home/land/lifestyle/tradition/ beliefs. And our forever dilemma is that our imaginations can think a better peaceful way, yet our observations of nature reveals a frightening truth -- the banality of evil -- fight and warfare as natural as the tactics of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. And still, our minds rebel against the obvious.

Ky Woman said...

Isn't that a question that faces all of mankind?

There is a time to take counsel of your fears, and there is a time to never listen to any fear. ~George S. Patton

but there comes a time when we as a people must stand in the face of evil, and say "NO MORE". Does it make it easier to accept that yourself in some way were evil too? No, it doesn't.
I don't think you need reminding that you stand on the side of 'good', and stand with the side fighting against the truly evil.

I also think God knows this, and will judge accordingly.

Have faith.
I'll be praying for you and your men's safe return.

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post - From the Front: 07/14/2008 - News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Sarah said...

I recognize a paragraph or two of this blog ;)
This is a struggle most people if not all go through. The ones who don't struggle are probably ones who have never looked very deeply at life. I respect your thoughts...who you are and who you are becoming. I'm grateful for you...very much so.
There's so much I could say...my thoughts ramble on..but I'll save those for later...remember I'm praying for you...always.

membrain said...

I truly hope you find inner peace.

Stay as safe as you can.

Ky Woman said...

Anthony,

Just wanted to shout...HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

You do know that we are thinking of you and the rest of our fighting men and women, don't you?? Yup! We are.

Thank You and Them for doing what you do. Prayers will continue for all...

Y'all take care!

mjgolch said...

Man, I have been where you are at a different war but the same boat,different service also. csame boat. Hugs Brother! Happy Birthday as well.
I will keep you and the rest of the guys in my prayers.-Mike Golch said that!

skeeter said...

TJ....First of all HAPPY B-DAY...I'm ashamed to admit that being back here in the states, with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I sometimes unknowingly distance myself from the sacrifice that you and your brothers make day in and day out. Please know that we pray for you and your men often. I've thought of writing to you several times, but never knew quite what to say. It seems that any advice or words of wisdom coming from me would seem trivial with the experiences that you have been through.
I just know that, as a father of 3 boys, I'm scared to death that my boys will be fighting this war, or one like it, when they get older. I would be proud of them ,as I am you, but it still scares me.
The boys ask about you often, and are proud that their cousin is fighting for our country.
Be safe and God's speed.
Scott

afriend said...

Happy Birthday.....I did share your writings with my children and they were so taken and so very grateful....Please continue to share your special gift so that others can have some understanding of the plight that so many brave young men and women have actually chosen to endure. I am so grateful to have my children safe at home, and you young Tony...like so many before you...make it possible...Godspeed.

Earl said...

Thanks for writing, and I was sent to see and stayed to read, so I wish you a happy birthday - missing four (you didn't miss them, you just couldn't celebrate them well where you were) for deployments won't make you any younger, but Social Security is so very far away.

Anyway, great posts and I will be back until you quit posting or come back and live as boring a life as most of America at the Mall.

Holly said...

HAPPY Birthday little brother!!!

Keep doing what you do so well!!

God keeps you safe, you work on the keeping you sound...He is always there to listen and answer, just listen with your heart.

I love you!!!
xoxo
hol

Earl said...

I read recently "Gates of Fire" by Steven Pressfield and he describes the Spartans after a few days of battle holding themselves back from throwing themselves bravely into the fray as they did on the first days. You do find points in your life, lines you cross and shame you can't share, but heal and grow stronger and it will make you old but kinder and wiser.

Anonymous said...

This message isn't intended to start a fight and you don't know me. I just want to say that if we could save ourselves from hell there wouldn't have been a reason for Jesus to die on the cross.
I believe we can't save ourselves but that we must rely on a God Who loves us and Who wants to have a relationship with us to save us.
I'll be praying for you.
P.S. It looks like you had a b-day recently i hope it was a happy one and thank you so much for serving our country.

Ky Woman said...

Anthony,

Just wanted to check in on you, hope that you are good as good can be...

Y'all take great care and stay SAFE!!

soldier fun said...
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soldier fun said...
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