The 0.45% who protect our nation
Last week Al Qaeda militants took over the key Iraqi city of Fallujah – a city that American soldiers fought valiantly to liberate just nine years ago. Unfortunately, many Americans may not remember or understand the sacrifice of the veterans who fought to free the city in the first place. The sobering news reminded me of recent comments made by General David Petraeus thanking our veterans and noting the lack of national sacrifice in the recent War on Terror.
Since the tragedy of 9/11, just 0.45% of the US population has served in the War on Terror. This is a lackluster statistic compared to the 11.2% who served four years during WW II and the 4.3% who served twelve years during the Vietnam War.
While the dangers to our country have intensified and grown more pervasive, a greater burden to protect our freedom has been shouldered by fewer and fewer Americans. Perhaps this trend has led to the unfortunate disconnect between the public and veterans – today’s War on Terror seems distant in the minds of Americans. This fact is unfortunate, yet unsurprising as less than one percent answer the call to serve.
During WW II and Vietnam, if your family members didn’t answer the call to serve, then your neighbors and friends did. The sacrifice of the country was readily visible. Today, that patriotic sacrifice made by military men, women, and families is less apparent and less understood. However, the bravery of our service men and women should not be any less appreciated.
These short comments from General Petraeus are eye-opening and worth a read: