I’m so thankful for the 48,000 troops still serving in harm’s way during America’s longest war in Afghanistan. They serve on our behalf _ in danger _ always a mortar shell, roadside bomb or machine-gun fire away from the ultimate sacrifice. These heroic troops join 2.5 million from this generation who answered their nation’s call – less than 1% of all Americans.
Unlike a past generation, they are welcomed home and viewed as civic assets – as leaders – many of whom still want to serve in their communities, and some even on the national stage. Currently, there are 16 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan – both Democrats and Republicans – now serving in the U.S. Congress.
We should all be thankful that there are leaders reluctant to send more of our men and women into harm’s way. Whether preventing bloody engagements in Syria or Iran, or winding down the war in Afghanistan, there are folks in power now who understand that America is best when she’s the reluctant warrior.
I’m also thankful that MSNBC has committed to a year-long testament to the American veteran. MSNBC’s partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project is a true commitment to bridge the civil-military divide.
Sharing stories like that of Marine Shane Krutchen are vital. After losing 19 Marines in Iraq and being wounded from an explosive device, Shane came home battling traumatic stress disorder. Lost in depression, abusing alcohol and drugs, Shane attempted suicide. But he recovered and lived to literally fight another day. Now married with a young son, Shane ‘The Zombie” Krutchen found his calling as a professional mixed-martial arts fighter. He mentors other combat veterans and serves as an inspiration.
I hope more folks across America will be inspired by our troops’ continued acts of selfless service and give thanks this holiday season.