How many times have you gone to sleep afraid that insurgents or enemy soldiers will kick down your door in the middle of the night?
How many times has your town been attacked, houses burned, women raped and kidnapped en masse, men slaughtered, children killed or forced to become child soldiers and property destroyed?
How many car bombs have gone off by shopping malls or bus stops near you?
How many of you find live in a town where the majority of buildings have some bomb, bullet or shrapnel damage?
How many of you have to pass through checkpoints with armed guards every few miles?
How many of you have to hire a security team if you want to venture out of town?
Not many, if any of you, I would imagine.
Yet all around the world today, that is the situation faced by millions of people.
Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, DR Congo, Sudan… the list goes on. There are dozens of active war zones or areas of ongoing hostile activity in the world today yet we often forget the freedom which we have been given.
We grumble and gripe and whine about all the little things, the pot-hole in the road, the taxes we have to pay, the high price of gas etc etc. Yet we completely forget that we in the west are living in a time of unparalleled peace and freedom.
Most of us have never seen war, never experienced it first-hand. The last war in Britain was 65 years ago, the last war on the American mainland was over 165 years ago.
On this day, I want to take the time to thank those who put their lives on the line to give us that freedom from terror, fear and the ravages of war.
You may not agree with war, you may think that those who go to war are criminals, and that is your right, but I know this:
I don’t live in fear that war and terrorism will overtake my neighborhood and I have never had to face the question of what I would do if foreign soldiers invaded my town. I am fairly certain that I don’t fear those things and have never had to face that possibility because there are men and women who are prepared to stand up, take up arms and do whatever their government tells them they need to do to keep us all safe.
To them this day, I say from the bottom of my heart: