There is a movement afoot to rename US 19 in Lee County after Lance Corporal Steve Sutton. Normally, I would probably complain about the expense of something like this, but not this time. Sutton, for those with short memories, was killed in action and a resident of Lee County. He’s been our only loss in these long wars that our nation has been embroiled in, and we need to remember him as best we can.
The fact of the matter is that we need to remember those we have lost in war. The memorials need to be as permanent as we can make them. People like Sutton have given up everything, and they did it for the idea of freedom.
We can argue about whether we should have gone to war in the first place if we want. We can argue about a lot of things dealing with war if we’d like. However, as a veteran myself, I’d like to point out a few facts about those who serve.
First, while many in my day enlisted for things like college money, we were told quick, fast, and in a hurry what we had really signed up for. A few, like myself, already knew. We were the sons and daughters of Vietnam vets. Oh, we may have enlisted for college money or job training, but our parents had beaten the realities of war into our heads. We knew that the benefits were fine, but we may have to pay for those with our lives.
There are some out there who think anyone who enlists these days is culpable for the war. These people refuse to acknowledge that those who serve may not be those looking forward to killing, but those with idealistic beliefs. Folks, these people are so wrong that it would be hysterical if it weren’t so tragic.
Many of those serving today were children when 9/11 happened. They were traumatized to an extent by the events of that day. Like a superhero who witnessed the death of a loved one, these children grew up with a burning in their soul. That burning was to do whatever they could to see that the next generation would never see such a thing.
We can debate the merits of that until we’re blue in the face, but that doesn’t negate the honorable service these people give to their nation. Naming a stretch of highway after Sutton isn’t to much. The problem is, it’s nowhere near enough.