With the 2016 election looming, the nation’s attention is focused on the all too real possibility of war if a Republican wins the White House.
With the upcoming election, scandals, and pundits tearing up the airwaves – it is all too easy to forget the recent cost of our foreign wars. This photo of Ashley Edens receiving the remains of her 22-year-old husband, Army Specialist Jason Edens, serves as a heart-wrenching reminder that the costs of war runs far deeper than many Americans realize (or want to consider).
Moreover, all too often we forget to consider the cost of war – the tragic loss of human lives and the sorrow it leaves in its wake.
Such was the case of Army Specialist Jason K. Edens, 22, who tragically lost his life on April 26, 2012 as the result of injuries he sustained on April 15, 2012 while serving in Laghman Province, Afghanistan, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.1
The heartbreaking photo of Spc. Eden’s wife, Ashley Edens, receiving his remains was posted to Reddit nearly three years ago.
A “close friend” of Spc. Edens posted the following response to the photo:
This is my friend Jason. He died in May while we were in Afghanistan. He was a very close friend of mine and this was not something I wanted to come across on Reddit when I signed on. […] He was the best guy I ever meant, [sic] a true friend. I hope you all respect him, even if you disagree with the war.2
Aside from the well-spring of tears I have shed tonight after coming across this photo (and accompanying story) is a nagging concern that too many of us have lost our perspective on war and its costs. We have allowed the forces-that-be to politicize war. We debate it and fight about it on Facebook with talk about #47Traitors and of the threat of war depending on who wins the presidency.
All too often we forget the costs in terms of human suffering, loss, the anguish of disabled veterans, the sorrow of the friends and families of those who gave their lives – like Spc. Edens.
To make matters worse, we don’t seem to learn anything from all this tragedy. Case in point: an article by Mother Jones from August of 2013 points out that the number of U.S. military actions over the course of the past 50 years “adds up to 15 separate episodes, ranging from full-scale wars (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan) to smaller incursions (Grenada, Haiti, Panama). […] This means we’ve launched a significant overseas assault every 40 months since 1963.”
(War) good God y’all
(What is it good for?) Absolutely nothing, say it again
(War, what is it good for?) Absolutely nothing
~lyrics to “War” by Edwin Starr
1. You can go here to read more about Spc. Edens here.
2. The friend also posted a link to a video about Spc. Edens “a friend of ours put together,” that you can watch, here.