soldier’s lament: the 4th, suicides & respect

And when he crumbles, resolve to the ground
Like burnt bits of paper, life flutters round
All eyes turn away, no one wants to see
A man who has lost, in the fight to be free

Sonya Kitchell


July 4th.

I wasn’t sure what to write and then I remembered this fantastic song at the end of the series finale episode of The Unit (the episode was called “unknown soldier). The song is soldier’s lament by Sonya Kitchell.

First (for the 4th). About Sonya. I am really pleased to share her talent with you if you have never heard of her. She was only 18 when she wrote this song and, yet, it has a sense of maturity beyond her years. Oh. And seems more listenable for the coffee-drinking adult crowd <hence her first song at 16 was on a Starbucks mix>. Regardless. Her voice reminds me a lot of Rachel Yamagata … husky soulful & languid.

Second (for the 4th). I am pleased to highlight the show The Unit if you have never seen it.  I know a Ranger, but I do not know any special forces members. What I do know is that they are all special … and frickin’ smart & tough. I would envision any country’s special forces are really special <smart & tough> and I also envision parts of The Unit reflect truth. It is a good show and reminds us of how special they are.

Third (on the 4th). July 4th is a good reminder with regard to ‘freedom of,’ fighting and standing up for a cause and the people who actually do the kind of fighting that can cost them their lives <versus just a cost to ego>.

Look. I am neither a ‘hawk’ nor a ‘dove.’

And I do not believe there is such a thing as a good war, but I also believe that some wars are worth fighting.

And I do believe that America’s attitude toward war and risk aversion is looped. Successful military events with low casualties breed interest in further military adventures. Costly engagements breed caution. In general America will tolerate high casualties to ward off only what they see as direct threats, but tolerate almost none to police distant and seemingly unfixable troubled countries.

Is that the right attitude? Geez. It doesn’t exactly feel right, but it is what it is.

And I end up believing that what that means for the future is difficult to judge.

Regardless. People who join the military, special forces or not, are special.

I do believe the young people who sign up for the military, the significant majority, know exactly what they are possibly signing up for. And I also believe that regardless of the knowledge … a young person doesn’t know what they don’t know <thinking about having someone shoot at you is significantly different than knowing someone is shooting at you>. I say that so we do not confuse what issues are most important when we discuss military and discuss what is going on in their heads when they return.

That said. I do believe they should be treated with respect and not used as a political hot potato for causes. For example … using a number estimated by the Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs <because the actual numbers are really unknown> research shows that between 2002 and 2007 the rate of American military suicides was actually lower than the rate for civilians <yeah … that made me shake my head in surprise too>.

My readers know that I do not take suicide lightly, but my point here is that we often use the military to make points <the one here is that most media simply says something like “on average 18 american veteran service people commit suicide daily”>.

Is 18 too many? Shit. 1 is too many.

But the general population suicide number is higher.

Fourth (on the 4th). Soldiers. Treat them fairly. Treat them with respect. But don’t treat them as if they didn’t know what they were signing up for. That is disrespectful.


Given my respect for the military … and what their families also contribute I thought the song was perfect to share on the 4th.

I wish I could have found the song and the actual closing scenes from The Unit.

It was an excellent show with one of the best managed endings ever done for a show.

Have a great 4th of July.

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Written by Bruce