It’s been that long?

Forgetfulness can be a difficult thing to deal with. It has become a growing concern among Americans that with everything happening in this country that it is hard to keep track of all the things that we are involved in overseas. A university newspaper article at Washington University in St. Louis brings up this very point. The article reminds us that recently passed was the eighth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. The article points out that with all of our concerns on the home front, Hurricane Katrina, health care problems and the recession we at home have lost sight of those of those who are fighting for America in Afghanistan. Another reason the author this piece gives for the forgotten nature for the war in Afghanistan is that there is no draft so most people at home are not so deeply concerned with the progression of the war.

We can see this work in the opposite way as well. In my Literary Responses to War and Peace class at Grand Valley State University we recently read the play The Ghosts May Laugh by Stuart D. Lee. A character in that play, Jones, who is fighting in the trenches during World War I, reads any paper he can find so that he can get news of what is happening at home while he is overseas. It seems to me that when soldiers go away from home to fight they do everything they can to stay connected to home. Yet unless we are directly connected to someone overseas the war to us is only something that we see on the news once and awhile or a popular topic for discussion in classrooms or among friends. As this eighth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan passes I hope that everyone will remember that right now there are numbers of Americans away from their homes fighting for us and the American way of life.

-Rob

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “It’s been that long?

  1. joshpoel

    The words “8th Anniversary of the War in Afghanistan” stick out to me. I saw these words spring up on the t.v. the other day and I thought to myself, “has it really been that long?” I couldn’t quite believe it. I can still remember 9/11 and everything about what I was doing that day. It seems to me that many people have forgotten that day. Maybe people thought America was going to “kick ass” and all the extremists in Afghanistan would be killed. Here we are 8 years later with soldiers still dieing everyday over in Afghanistan. This post points out that many people may not be concerned with this war and the sacrifices our soldiers are making over there. It makes me angry that people can forget so easily and even talk badly about the purpose of the war because I remember how I felt on the day America was attacked. For those of us who know someone killed on 9/11 or made the sacrifice to go to war it will always be in the back of our minds.

  2. niemanr

    It does seem quite sad that such influential events go and pass and people seemingly forget about them. But I do not think that they are truly forgotten; fore when asked what they were doing during such flashbulb events (September 11, Kennedy’s assassination, Challenger explosion, etc), people can recite where they were, what they were wearing, and to whom they were conversing with. I suppose, without one stand out instance highlighting situations of importance, like the invasion of Afghanistan and our continued occupation there, there is no real point where people can take themselves back to be like, “oh yes, that event was so moving!” But, it does not mean that this event has been forgotten. It is true, like you said, though, that our attention has shifted and focuses on more contemporary headlines. But it would be tough to relive certain events over and over, daily, if we were to keep them fresh in our minds. In addition, the conflict in Afghanistan, or “war” does not hit close to home for many Americans. Of course there are those who have loved ones, or friends in the service, but as time has progressed our occupation has decreased there, with our troops being relocated to Iraq. But, it seems as if Obama’s withdrawal of troops in Iraq goes smoothly, in coming years, we will see numbers of American troops going up to Afghanistan again. Maybe then we will take notice once again.

  3. Rob,

    Whilst browsing the web I came across a series of comments by your students on my play. I really enjoyed what they had to say, and extremely pleased that it seemed relevant to them in the context of today’s conflicts.

    I did actually write a sequel – a short play showing what happened to Jones when he got home. Let me know if you’d like a copy.

    Thanks again,

    Stuart Lee
    Oxford

  4. Krystal

    Eight years! At times it seems like it has been longer then that. I personally know a lot of people who have been deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. I have family members who have been deployed twice! I completely agree that many people in the United States forget that we are even in a war. Obviously for people who have loved ones in the military it stays fresh in their minds. I think a lot of people forget that there is more out there then the United States. If the war was being fought in the U.S. or another terrorist attack happened then it would be on everyone’s mind again. I also think that would change many people’s opinions of the war. We are so privilege in the United States and I think sometimes we take that for granted. Our soldiers need to know that people are supporting their efforts. Too often I think soldiers come back and feel that no one even cares about what is happening overseas. In our culture we so easily get caught up in TV Shows, Hollywood gossip and other insignificant things. For example, when Anna Nichole Smith died more news time was spent on her death then things happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. Something is wrong with that! We shouldn’t forget about our soldiers and the war no matter what else is happening in the United States.

  5. wesnile5200

    I regret to admit that the war that has been going on in Afganistan feels like a world away to me, and that I do not often think about it. I do know people in the armed forces, but none of them are stationed overseas and being that, it doesnt seem like I have any connection to the war. I see news on tv and in newspapers, but mainly I hear about it on NPR, through thier news shows. However I only listen when I am in my car, but since I only drive a few times a week, I usually dont end up hearing about it. Something else that seems to get in the way is my college work load, there seems like there is so much going on here, with classes, reading, tests, quizs, and my part time job that I dont have time to rest, let alone what is happening half way around the world. I do agree that the United States is becoming withdrawn from the rest of the world, and that those that are overseas dream of being home, something needs to change, the country needs to mature and become more involved in the world in which we live.

  6. thebore44

    Robert,

    I think that you bring up an excellent point in your blog. Of course everyone knows that there is a war going on overseas, but how often to people stop to think about the people fighting and the families waiting at home. I think it all ties back to the idea of being connected. Sure, Americans are connected to the war in the sense that their country is fighting, but how connected are we really? For one, people do not see the effects of war everyday. The war is not happening in their country so they are not forced to live amongst violence. Also, those who do not know anyone overseas do not live in worry for their loved ones. The closest most people get to the war is what is seen on TV or what is written in the newspapers. And still, not everyone stays connect through media. I absolutely agree with you, people’s lack of awareness is devastating. People need to make a conscience effort to read blogs, keep up on current events, and stay connected with the soldiers and conflict. You also make a great point when you say that people tend not to follow the war because there is not draft. Since they are not directly effective then the war is not really a concern to them. This is a selfish and egocentric way of looking at things but unfortunately that is the way a lot of people think. I am really glad that you wrote about this in your blog. I think that connection is important for soldiers and civilians, and by writing you are staying connected.

  7. brenbernard

    I have to agree with Rob completely in regards to what he submits in this post. It is strange how something that possesses as much gravity as war, let alone one my own country is involved in, can seem so trivial and far away. Sadly, I agree with Rob that most Americans do seem to forget that there are so many Americans overseas fighting in a war. Perhaps it is because many of us don’t have personal connections overseas or maybe it is because they are literally so far away. In either case it does seem like the war, the war efforts thus far and those who have fought and died are being put on the back-burner; out of sight and out of mind. Rob’s post has made me realize that I myself have neglected to appreciate the sacrifice of so many and in many ways it is a wake up call. Ideally our soldiers could come home. But if they can’t we have to do a better job of letting them know that they are appreciated and will be welcomed back as heroes. It would be a shame if there was a repeat of what the soldiers returning from Vietnam faced, whether you agree with the war or not.

  8. krygierj

    First of all, congratulations to you for the comment by the author! It’s nice to know that we have an audience out there beyond our classroom. Second of all, I wrote on a similar topic of the endlessness of the current wars the United States seems to be wrapped up in, expressing similar sentiments. The military’s operations in the Middle East seem almost commonplace now, which can be very dangerous, as our troops overseas need our support more than ever. The death tolls in Afghanistan are consistently rising as the months go by, and President Obama is considering sending more troops (which obviously displeases the rest of his party). It is necessary for those of us back home to continue to be supportive and attentive to the situations over there so that our soldiers know they have reason to keep putting their lives in harm’s way.

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