Military appreciation day

President Trump began 2020 by directing an order to the U.S. Military to assassinate the Iranian Military Commander, Qaseem Soleimani, on Jan. 3. This was his response to a potential attack that the Iranian Government had been planning and an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that occurred on New Year’s Eve by an Iran-backed Militia. Events leading up to this airstrike have been occurring since the day Trump was inaugurated. Trump’s 2016 campaign had plans to roll back parts of Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal, which he successfully accomplished in 2018. The following year, Iran attacked U.S. allied oil tankers and infrastructures leading Trump to impose sanctions on the nation. Although neither nations actually want war, this assassination seems to be a tipping point to a major global conflict.

This U.S. drone strike has led to deployment of many US troops to the Middle East, including those close to home. Reuters reported that approximately 3,500 troops from Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne Division were sent overseas and that their tasks there are to prepare for potential threats from the Iranian Government and to train for a set of battles that may lead to a global war.

I am very patriotic about our troops and the time and effort they put into protecting our nation and protecting our rights; however, in the event of political unrest, I tend to favor diplomacy over war. I believe that although Trump made an intense and stupid decision, the deployment of troops was necessary because our embassy was attacked, but it should not have gone as far as killing one of the most powerful men in our adversary’s government. Like always, we're at risk for history repeating itself, hence the reason why our top meme trend for 2020 is World War III. The best thing to focus on right now for the United States and Iran is diplomacy so it would not shake international relations and would deter war, especially because we now have far more destructive methods of military tactics and equipment.

As citizens, we should stay informed, but not let these broader topics cover the sentimental ones. The last time deployment was prominent in the US was during Afghanistan. I was in elementary school then, and I did not have a sense of the effects it would have on the lives of people around me. Now that I know people that are being directly impacted by this issue, I am writing this article to explain what the public should know about families or friends with a member in service. Daniel Moody of UNC Charlotte and Sophia Spangler of Western Carolina are both students who are from Fayetteville, a town near the Fort Bragg military base. Daniel’s parents are military contractors and he has had friends deployed from Fort Bragg. Sophia’s father was deployed to Afghanistan when she was in middle school and has now retired from the military, but she has other family members and friends on the military base. With the current politics, they want us to know the realities of having military involvement.

Often times, government politics and military action are portrayed as negatives for those in service. Spangler explains, “If the public knew all the information about our men and women abroad it would put them all in danger. There is more to the story than what civilians know, and if it was public knowledge it can lead to thousands of deaths.” Be mindful of what families are going through rather than focusing on your own views of what the military should and shouldn’t do. Moody states that having had friends deployed, “It made me feel quite uneasy, but I know the men and women are putting their lives on the line for our country...so I am also grateful for them...I think people need to keep in mind the sacrifices the families are putting forward for not only us, but for themselves, and our country. The public should be very supportive and keep those families in their thoughts and prayers.” With the recent outbreak of World War III memes, we have to admit that there is insensitivity among us. Spangler says, “America has a very strong volunteer military. It’s frustrating to listen to people belittle the men and women that serve our nation and protect our freedoms. These people go willingly and with a sense of pride and duty…Before someone makes jokes about dodging the draft that isn't going to happen or WWIII, stop and think about the people who have the bravery and duty to put themselves in harm's way to protect people.”

With intense politics like these, we need to find an apolitical standpoint. We should hold the government and the actions its authority takes accountable; however, the troops still take orders from the government regardless of how they feel about the current conflicts. They risk their lives for our safety and rights, and putting them and their families in an uncomfortable environment for your own political stance is an action of disrespect almost close to betrayal. Spangler really puts this into perspective by saying, “We all feel for each other and know that having a loved one overseas is one of the hardest things someone has to deal with because of the uncertainty. But we also have the understanding that this is a necessary part of life in the military.”

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