March 21, 2012

Jessica Lynch

Jessica Lynch

Being in Iraq was confusing. A lot of us didn”€™t know why we were there. The Iraq Inquiry has yet to report. It’s hard to believe in something that seems to have no reason. After 9/11 everyone could understand the initial foray into Afghanistan, but Iraq? I suppose it’s hard to feel heroic about something in which you didn”€™t believe. But once we were on the ground we did what we could. I saw some heroes there”€”people doing extraordinary things in a confusing and dangerous situation. There are also those who hate being in uniform and those who hide when there’s work to be done. There are also some who don”€™t even deserve the label of soldier, much less hero.

There are heroes at war and heroes at home. One of the most inspirational men I have ever met is Ben Griffin. He served in the Parachute Regiment. The Airborne has always been a tough place to serve, but this wasn”€™t enough for Ben; he then joined the SAS. The UK Special Forces is renowned as one of the world’s best. To join isn”€™t easy; I failed. Ben was part of a Special Forces operation in Iraq that he felt was morally corrupt. He resigned and spoke about his experiences to expose wrongdoing. There were no medals in this; Ben was gagged by a lifelong injunction. He then set up Veterans for Peace UK and started campaigning for something in which he believes. Our views differ at times, but I see him as a hero to stand alone, away from former comrades. To be gagged by the courts yet still have the courage to carry on is heroic to me.

Samuel Johnson said, “€œEvery man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea.”€ I believe it’s relative. You don”€™t know what you would have done had you joined and put on a uniform. Some do a lot, while some don”€™t do very much at all. The next time you look at a parade of soldiers, remember they”€™re people like you. Some of them are heroes, some are soldiers, and some are not. I was a soldier but never a hero.



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