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One death is a tragedy

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1000 deaths is a statistic

“Support our Troops”

This message is everywhere: store windows, street signs, even bumper stickers. But have you ever stopped to contemplate its meaning? Have you ever actually thought about the AMAZING sacrifice that our soldiers—many of them not even old enough to drink—are making for you and me?

I can’t even imagine.  Here I am, upset when Whole Foods is out of coconut butter or when a professor gives me a B. At the same time, our soldiers fight for my freedom amidst exploding bombs and guns, without their families by their sides, facing possible death at every turn.  It really makes my complaints feel petty and selfish.

I feel like a warrior when I get back from running 10 miles for fun. At the same time, brave men and women—some of whom are my age—run for their lives, without ever receiving a post-exercise stack of pancakes or relaxing massage as a reward for their hard work. Their reward is simply the fact that they’re still alive.  The amount of courage and dedication they exude is unfathomable to me, and I can never repay the debt I owe them.

For, how can one thank a strangers willing to rise every morning (assuming they were afforded the chance to sleep the night before) and put their lives on the line so that we can know freedom?

Not everyone is so lucky.

I admit, I used to take my freedom for granted. I didn’t understand the true meaning of the word until I moved to a foreign country and discovered that not everyone has the freedoms we Americans take as a given.  I’m not saying our country is perfect, but we’re certainly far better off than many others. (I bet my blogger friend, who lives in a country that censors her blog posts, will agree with me!)

Please remember, today, all of the brave men and women who are willing to give up their lives—and those who have given up their lives—to protect our freedoms. And remember to support our troops, not just on Memorial Day.  After all, they support us every day.

If you do nothing else today, at least take a moment to visit and leave a quick message thanking our soldiers for their bravery and sacrifice.

Question of the Day:

What freedoms are you most thankful to have someone willing to protect? And: What does “support the troops” mean to you?

Honestly, I was against going to war in Iraq.  But whether or not we wanted our soldiers there, the fact of the matter is that they are there, so they need our support (not just the soldiers in Iraq, but around the world).

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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. Krystina says:

    You’ve inspired me to eat something patriotic today 😀 But I don’t think I have anything blue, hm…

  2. Aimee says:

    What a beautiful post! You have an absolutely amazing way with words. I’m off to click that “support the troops” link and tell them how much they mean to me!

  3. anonymous says:

    Ummm yeah how about support george bush when he was your president?

    how can you call yourself patriotic and say your supporting the troops when you challenge your leader and his decision to send the troops to war? you liberals are all the same. ridiculous.

    I believe that it is one’s patriotic DUTY to think for oneself and not blindly follow the leader. If we simply went along with everything our president might say, never questioning, America would become a dictatorship. As I wrote in my post, I very much support the lives of the men and women who have been put in the line of harm. I believe that their lives are sacred and therefore we should send them to protect our country only as a last resort.

  4. Jennifer - jcd says:

    Great post. The men and women who fight for peace are brave in a sense that civilians will never understand.

    The latest bumper sticker here reads “If you don’t stand behind our troops, stand in front of them.” I don’t agree with the wording, but it gets the point across.

    You can write to Canadian Troops abroad here:

    We have our Brownies write letters every Remembrance Day, 11 November, to somewhere we know someone serving. (I live in a town where many people are members of the Canadian Foces.) We also send a large parcel full of Girl Guide cookies and other goodies once a year to the same site. It’s the least we can do.

    Next year I hope to get a veteran to speak to the Brownies through the Memory Project:

  5. Rick says:

    thanks for the shoutout, Katie! I wasn’t kidding either….lol 🙂

    I’ve given you a shoutout before in my blog as well, because we’ve made fudge babies in the past and now we can’t stop making them. Thanks for bringing such a simple, nutritious, DELICIOUS dessert to the blogosphere!

    To answer today’s question, I must admit I have no plans. My uncle was just re-deployed to Iraq last week, and we had a party for him two weeks ago. Since I’m a high-raw vegan who also only drinks alcohol once every 4-5 months, I didn’t get invited to any cookouts or anything today. I think my lifestyle intimidates people…oh well, can’t wait to enjoy a day of cooking and trying to talk Sabrina into letting me douse her in chocolate! 😉

  6. I love this post. Every single one of my guy friends from high school has joined the military so it’s a big part of my life even though I’m not in it. We should all send care packages! CHOCOLATE ones! 😀

  7. Ilana says:

    As ever Katie, lovely post.
    It’s really difficult in this day and age to truly grasp the concept of national security, of needing to be protected, and we are so LUCKY that we live in a country where we don’t need to learn those concepts from a young age. I was also against the war in Iraq, but like you, I feel that just because my political ideology is opposed to the war doesn’t mean those aren’t REAL PEOPLE placing themselves in harm’s way. We have so many freedoms, we have so many advantages and abilities. We live in a country where it is possible for one person to be standing on one street corner decrying the president and his actions and across the street there is someone supporting. It’s so fantastic and amazing – the freedom to criticize, the FREEDOM to think FREELY and not worry that you might be arrested for going against the political mainstream (… I mean, this happens in some countries, not the entire world). Thanks, I definitely have some things to be thinkin’ about today.

    Re: The anon commenter above, part of being patriotic in America is honoring your freedom of speech and your freedom of thought. Being patriotic does NOT mean supporting your government unconditionally. Mindless unconditional support of government acts is precisely the antithesis of American Patriotism, considering this country was built on grounds of discontent and questioning the government. Why, the writers of the Constitution even made sure we would be able to protect ourselves from the government (freedom to bear arms).

    On the linep for me is probably a BBQ – gotta figure out a way to make a red white and blue vegan pasta/grain salad haha. Also, I’m filling out my application for a gun license today. I love peace and I don’t believe in guns and weapons but I have personal reasons for doing so and it feels very powerful AND American.

    I love that bikini you’re wearing… I’m about to go look for my red white and blue one too!

    Have a fab fab day!!

  8. Leslie says:

    Thanks for a terrific, well written post. And you and your mom are so cute! 🙂

  9. Kelsey says:

    most of my family has members who fought in many wars… some being quite famous. and as canadian soldiers they were alongside americans fighting for some of the same causes which is incredible and inspiring. memorial day is still important for our family altho many ppl here dont celebrate the american holiday which is sad.

    btw i LOVE that bikini, patriotic and sassy <3 hehe

  10. abby says:

    happy memorial day, katie! i love that bathing suit, and you look so pretty in it :). i think i’m just going to relax by the pool today :).

  11. Inspired says:

    Once again, Katie, thank you for taking the time to write some truly inspirational words. I already went and left a message for our troops!

  12. Wow, this post (and the comments) got my mind going in so many different an awesome thought provoking way. No matter what people are going to agree with it’s always nice to stir the pot a bit.

  13. Danielle says:

    I was just thinking about this the other day- beautiful post Katie!

  14. eatandrun says:

    Great post! I’ll take some strawberries and cream please 🙂

  15. Mary says:

    Woah, boo to anonymous for suggesting that Liberals and Democrats can’t be patriots!
    And kudos to you for reminding us to support our troops. You’re right; I often hear people say it, but how often do we actually DO anything for them?

  16. Valerie says:

    Thank you so much for this! We usually think of our troops during the holidays, and last year for Christmas we helped make baskets to send overseas. But you’re right: they support us EVERY day, not just on holidays, so we should remember them every day too.

    Love from another Liberal who has no problem questioning her government.

    It’s what our founding fathers WANTED us to do!

  17. Anonymous says:

    I am torn with this post. I understand what you are saying, that whether we support the war or not we should support the soldeirs who are already there. I used to think that too, but after talking to some soldeirs who are back from Baghdad and older war vets, I don’t think I agree anymore. The militarys mantra is engage and destroy. Engage meaning to locate the target under fire. There isn’t any rebuilding of nations. The iraqui people are far worse off now than they were before. Their cities are destroyed, they have almost no water, food, or medical supplies. Children commit suicide because they are so tired of living in fear. And students can’t get to school because we have torn up their infrastructure and built checkpoints that take hours to get through. Anyway, we also kill people who are innocent bystanders. There are even videos of this, like in wikileaks, which has gotten some serious press. The soldeirs are rejoicing when they “make a kill” and acting like the war is a game. It is so sickening.
    I can totally understand getting sucked into the military. The young people think they are going off to do something great or they really need the money and later education that joining will give them. But on day one of training when they stick a knife and gun in their arms and teach them how to kill before anything else, that should be a sign that something is wrong.
    I support the troops who resist. The men who refuse to enlist and the men who do enlist and then get out as soon as they can, because they see how terrible the military really is.
    The problem though is not the men. It is the system. We have been told that going to war is right and patriotic. We have been told that the middle eastern people are a threat to America. We need to question these things and seek out the truth for ourselves.
    I am so sorry if I offend anyone. I just want everyone to atleast try to get as much information as possible from asany diverse sources as possible before making up their mind on ANY issue.

  18. Mo says:

    I have to agree with anonymous here (Anonymous // May 31, 2010 at 4:23 pm, to be specific)…

    Also, I appreciate the irony in starting out a very well-written post about freedom with a quote first spoken by a dictator. 😉

  19. Great post. I find it so easy to take my freedom for granted. Have you seen the film, Hurt Locker? It’s a really good one.

    It’s bank holiday monday here in the UK, woo woo! So have been eating out, baking cookies, and laughing alot with friends. Love it 🙂

  20. Anonymous,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a well-written response. I agree with you completely that the system is faulty, and I want to cry when I think about how many lives have been (and continue to be) lost… and for what? Saddham is gone, but he’s just one guy. Is the world really better/ have all the lives lost really been worth it? I agree with you in thinking the answer is “no.” But I still think we have to support our fellow Americans who are stationed around the world, because they are not the ones who got us into this mess.

    I haven’t seen it yet, but I definitely plan to!

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