It is easy to watch the news and get lulled into thinking that it is a long way away and doesn’t involve our world. We see pictures and footage from the wars and somehow it does not seem real. We hear about the casualties of war, we see their pictures, we hear their names and yet it all seems so distant and surreal. Sure I guess I had thought about soldiers losing their lives fighting our war against terrorism but it had never hit close to home, until Sunday.
A northeast Kansas man was killed Sunday in Afghanistan when his patrol came under fire. That man was Sgt 1st Class Forrest W. Robertson of Westmoreland. I had met Forrest a couple of times but I did not know him as well as I should have. Forrest was a true patriot and he made the ultimate sacrifice for each and every one of us, please never, ever loses sight of that. Sgt. Robertson died protecting us; we are safer each day because of what he did.
It hit hard when I heard the news. His parents are neighbors and friends. Each Sunday I sit in the same church with his mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law and each Sunday we prayed for his safety. I saw his three daughters when they came to visit Grandma and Great-Grandma. I know his wife Marcie and I know she bravely kept life as normal as she could at home when he was deployed. Sgt. Robertson was not just a name on a page or a picture on the news; he was someone I had shaken hands with.
We all wonder how brave we are. We would like to think we would sacrifice ourselves for our fellow man, but most of us are never really sure. Forrest volunteered to protect us; he served five deployments and was just days away from coming home. Sgt 1st Class Robertson not only risked his life for our safety but he continued put himself in harm’s way to protect us with his bravery. We are safe because of brave men and women like him,
A source I checked said that there had been 2,192 American fatalities in Afghanistan since the war started. That was a number I never truly understood until now. Each of them has a name, a face and a family. I am sure each death had an equal impact in their home community and most importantly the circle of family and friends around that soldier. We must remember and cherish each of them and honor their memories.
Sgt. 1st Class Robertson joins a long line of patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our great nation, they are the true heroes. We must remember that they gave of themselves and made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy the freedoms and the safety that we often take for granted. I promise you that I will never again take my freedom or my safety for granted.
I am humbled by men like Forrest. I can only hope that we will surround his wife, daughters and the rest of his family with comfort, prayers and help. He gave his all for us and the least we can do is to take care of them for him. We owe him and them a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid and it is up to us to try.
It seems only fitting that Veteran’s Day is coming up. I know that I will never look at the day in the same way again. I have always been grateful to those who served, especially those who served in a time of war. I cannot imagine the horrors they saw and the sacrifices they made. I would hope I could do that, but unlike them, I do not know. If you are one who served, or if one of your family was killed serving our country, words cannot express my thanks.
I thought I knew what the price of freedom was; now I know for sure what the price is. I am forever grateful for those who paid that price for me. I promise each morning I will step out my door, knowing that I am free because of brave men and women like Sgt 1st Class Forrest W. Robertson. God bless you Sgt Robertson.