Most of the time, we take it for granted that there are soldiers are out there keeping the country safe, but do we really appreciate the work that they put in?
This is a piece reminding us to take a minute out of our busy schedules just to respect what they do, appreciate them and even pray for their safety.
As a kid I had this dream of being a soldier but in the end, I gave up on it because I couldn’t give it my all. You see, a soldiers life is not for all. It requires courage, determination, fire and a spine of steel. For in the dust, sun or rain, a soldier must still remain a soldier before being a person. One has to be ready to have blistered feet, little sleep, poor food. Overworked and underpaid, they are moved from one destination to another with the simple stroke of a pen.
They may not be perfect, but these brave men and women have their lives on hold while the army takes first place. They live in a life on limbo and are sometimes sent out to far off and dangerous places for months on end to defend the territories of Nigeria. Their job is to defend the country from internal and external threats and they are doing the best that they can with the little resources available to them. Everyday in Maiduguri and beyond, soldiers are blown to pieces. Their families often don’t even see their corpses or say goodbye. A minute silence, that is what they get in the end.
We have a habit of turning it off in our head when statistics of fatality is listed on the news or in the papers. 5 JTF officers killed yesterday at a gun battle with Boko Haram, 2 soldiers killed on the creaks of the Delta, a platoon blown to pieces in Abuja 3 dead, more in hospital…we seem to see these as just numbers, well we can’t afford to anymore.
In the blink of an eye, bones are shattered, flesh is scattered, lives are lost, and plans are stuffed out. Families are left bare and dreams are forever frozen, never to be completed again. This is a common occurrence, but one we should never gets used to.
These numbers are fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, uncles, lovers, friends and colleagues. They had dreams, aspirations, plans, and lives waiting for them but many get killed in the line of duty. We can’t afford to take that for granted because most times while we sleep, hundreds of them are awake patrolling, protecting, defending and strategizing so that we can wake up in a safer Nigeria.
In a country not at war, we are loosing too many soldiers and my prayer is that they and the civilians are spared of further casualties. We aren’t there when a mother is told that her son is dead. We’re safe in our homes when a father has to hold back tears that his only son can only be returned in pieces. We’re living our lives when a daughter is told that her future just flew in the dust with the bombs that ended her fathers life. We’re oblivious of the moments when families and friends are confronted with the reality that they would never see their loved one again…
So today, even if we were not privy to their pain, I want us to take a moment to say thank you, and then offer a prayer for those who have laid their lives on the line for us, and for the ones who continue to do so. This imperfect group of patriots who get up each morning knowing that wearing that uniform may lead to their death but having the courage to do so anyway.
For the brave men and women of the Nigerian army who fight to keep us safe, may God keep you safe, and we pray you come back to your family in one piece.
You are our everyday heroes!
(This piece is dedicated to ‘Bigman’. You are a hero yesterday, today and tomorrow)