Technically the first time I’ll post a picture of myself in Afghanistan. At the time we had to keep these offline, but the RAF is posting videos and images of the same detachment publicly now so I think I’m alright now. Obviously I have actual pictures of myself, but this whole thing so many in the ISAF is going through is definitely not about me and I’d like to at least make an attempt to be positive at the moment so this particular image was what I went with.
There are two main groups I’m concerned about right now, first, the Afghans who’ve had a couple of decades of really appreciating not being held at the literal muzzle of the gun, a gun being held up by a draconian terror group brainwashed by extremist religious views in to a staunch determination to bring a country back to what the middle east was many hundreds of years ago. Literal dark ages of ignorance and real, true, oppression unimaginable by almost anyone raised in the west.
Second is actually a lot smaller but closer to home in the form of everyone that went to that part of the world in the last 20 years while wearing a uniform, because they were willing to actually put themselves on the line to prevent the likes of 9/11 and 7/7 ever happening again and just a few people reading this will have suffered permanent physical and psychological losses in sacrifice to that cause.
Personally the worst I really had to deal with out there during my first trip (when I took this picture) was being stuck for months in small confines working with some unpleasant people who talked to me like shit every single day with no breaks or real escapes, and that seems crap when that’s your biggest problem but, obviously, it’s absolutely nothing in the scheme of things. What worries me the most is how many guys out there are sitting alone the past few days, some looking at their physical scars and some just dealing with invisible ones, thinking that the extreme challenges they weathered might not have meant anything.
I myself don’t believe anything is further from the truth and if any of you feel that way or know someone who might be then maybe try to not forget that or let anyone else forget either. Especially years from now when all those scars are just as present and painful but the news reports have stopped coming in. This is what is meant when we talk about remembrance come November, not that it should be limited to November because for the people who have those scars all the time that 1 day is just 1 day out of 365 days.
Leaders at the very top have failed, but every person that stood their boots on that sand and did gave everything they had did nothing but succeed. Just win after win on the small scale that they actually had control over. All you can give is all you’ve got, so if you’ve done that over and over again then that is success in life overall, the entire thing.
Napoleon Bonaparte said that glory is fleeting but obscurity is forever and many of those who never gave for the sake of others will remain obscure. But if you were the kind of person who did the real thing over there then what matters is you won’t ever be obscure; because you can do a lot more in the dark even if someone else only shines a torch your way for a moment than if they never shined it your way at all.