"Come to me, all of you, who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28 NIV
On July 6, 2011, President Obama ordered a reversal of a long-standing military policy of denying condolence letters to the families of service men and women who commited suicide while stationed in a combat zone. This is a most sensible act to honor all those who have sacrificed their very lives to fight for our country.
My own personal faith teaches that our bodies are God's temple. Life is the very first gift that He gives us the moment we are conceived. We must not dispose of it or take it away in our own accord. But no man or woman signs up for military service for the purpose of killing themselves once they are in the field. War is cruel. Battles may be won but nobody wins in wars. We will never know the images that stay in our soldiers' heads or the ghosts that hound them in their sleep or the nightmares that haunt them even when they're wide awake. We will never know the true agony that they went through that led them to end their lives. We will never feel the same sadness and emptiness in the hearts of family members who have lost a loved one through suicide. We will never know the unending questions in their minds on what happened and how it happened or how they could have prevented it.
As a country, as citizens who enjoy every kind of freedom for every drop of sweat and blood of our military personnel, we probably do not show enough of our appreciation for their service. We should not deny them a simple piece of paper that validates their sacrifices. A condolence letter encapsulates our nation's sympathy and gratitude for a life gone too soon.
To the President from the military families, a heartfelt thank you for an act long overdue. To all the service members who have lost their lives in combat from everyday Americans, our eternal gratitude to you. May your souls finally rest in peace.
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