Greetings From Rancho Mirage
By Ben Stein Published 4/5/2006 2:29:42 AM
Dear Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, National Guard, Reservists,in Iraq, in the Middle East theater, in Afghanistan, in the area nearAfghanistan, in any base anywhere in the world, and your families:
Let me tell you about why you guys own about 90 percent of thecojones in the whole world right now and should be damned happy withyourselves and damned proud of who you are. It was a dazzlingly hot day herein Rancho Mirage today. I did small errands like going to the bank to pay my mortgage, finding a new bed at a price I can afford, practicing driving withmy new 5 wood, paying bills for about two hours.
I spoke for a long time to a woman who is going<http://www.spectator.org/bensdiary.asp> through a nasty child custodyfight. I got e-mails from a woman who was fired today from her job for not paying attention. I read about multi-billion-dollar mergers in Europe, Asia,and the Mideast. I noticed how overweight I am, for the millionth time.
In other words, I did a lot of nothing. Like every other Americanwho is not in the armed forces family, I basically just rearranged the deckchairs on the Titanic in my trivial, self-important, meaningless way.
Above all, I talked to a friend of more than forty-three years who told me he thought his life had no meaning because all he did was count his money.
And, friends in the armed forces, this is the story of all ofAmerica today. We are doing nothing but treading water while you guys carry on the life or death struggle against worldwide militant Islamic terrorism.Our lives are about nothing: paying bills, going to humdrum jobs, waiting until we can go to sleep and then do it all again. Our most vivid issues are trivia compared with what you do every day, every minute, every second.
Oprah Winfrey talks a lot about "meaning" in life. For her,"meaning" is dieting and then having her photo on the cover of her magazineevery single month (surely a new world record for egomania ).This is not"meaning."
Meaning is doing for others. Meaning is risking your life forothers. Meaning is putting your bodies and families' peace of mind on the line to defeat some of the most evil, sick killers the world has ever known.Meaning is leaving the comfort of home to fight to make sure that therestill will be a home for your family and for your nation and for free men and women everywhere.
Look, soldiers and Marines and sailors and airmen and CoastGuardsmen, there are eight billion people in this world. The whole fate ofthis world turns on what you people, 1.4 million, more or less, do everyday. The fate of mankind depends on what about 2/100 of one percent of thepeople in this world do every day -- and you are those people. And joiningyou is every policeman, fireman, and EMT in the country, also holding backthe tide of chaos.
Do you know how important you are? Do you know how indispensable you are? Do you know how humbly grateful any of us who has a head on his shoulders is to you?
Do you know that if you never do another thing in your lives, youwill always still be heroes? That we could live without Hollywood or WallStreet or the NFL, but we cannot live for a week without you?
We are on our knees to you and we bless and pray for you every moment.
And Oprah Winfrey, if she were a size two, would not have onemillionth of your importance, and all of the Wall Street billionaires willnever mean what the least of you do, and if Barry Bonds hit ninety home runs it would not mean as much as you going on one patrol or driving one truck to the Baghdad airport.
You are everything to us, as we go through our little days, and youare in the prayers of the nation and of every decent man and woman on the planet.
That's who you are and what you mean. I hope you know that.
Love, Ben Stein