COLUMN: War apathy: there’s no real excuse

Spencer Jenkins

Whether people of our generation admit it or not, over the past decade, many of us have become numb to the war and terror surrounding our everyday lives.

Most of us think the tragic attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 occurred as a one-time freak act of hate and violence and think, “Hey, that would never happen to me!”

How can we be so sure?

Our generation must realize that since 9/11, our country and its citizens entered a new era of terror where random acts of violence from extremist groups could spring up anywhere.

I’m not condoning the apathy many of us feel toward the war and politics, but let’s face it: our spoiled generation has so many trivial distractions that we would rather read about how many times Lindsay Lohan finds herself behind bars or what someone’s dramatic Facebook status says than our troops.

I do agree that sometimes escaping the reality of the world for a time alleviates stress because reading and watching news about our American soldiers dying from roadside bombs drains a person.

Despite getting lost in our iPods, televisions and social media, we have to always remember that America is in its tenth year of war and we don’t really know when it’s ever going to end.

Our soldiers overseas don’t have the luxury of escaping reality. The threat of roadside bombs and firefights plague them at any given moment.

Last fall, WKU lost one if its very own to the terrors of war.

1st Lt. Eric D. Yates, a 2008 WKU graduate, served with the 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan and was killed by a roadside bomb.

As I was at the memorial service for him at Guthrie Bell Tower that eerie day, I couldn’t help but feel the sharp hint of tears stinging my eyes that eventually evolved into full-blown crying.

I didn’t even know Yates personally, but I couldn’t help but feel so angry that these evil terrorists and this war took away an intelligent young man with his whole life in front of him.

After the service, my whole perspective on the war and 9/11 changed. No longer was I going to just sit by and be an uninformed American citizen.

I decided that if I can’t stop the war and death and destruction, I can at least advocate against apathy and develop an understanding of why the world is in such turmoil.

So this is my call to you.

Be an informed American and be proud of your country. People are fighting and dying for us as you read these scribbled words.

Think about all you have—luxuries you probably take for granted, luxuries that our troops don’t have.

Asking you to be thankful for our troops isn’t fair to them.

The word “thankful” is nowhere near strong enough of a word. You should praise and admire our troops.