I just saw a friend post a meme on Facebook. I am not going to repost it here as there was no link nor statement about who created it. But it was about fighting untill your last breath; how when the time came to leave this planet that they do so swinging a weapon and having the courage to sing their own death song.
Basically, it was what many people feel the definition of a warrior is.
I agree that those who have been in combat deserve that title. Anyone who chooses to go into a military branch and serves our country is a warrior. My Grandfather is one of those warriors. As a Marine he fought in World War II in the Pacific theatre. He saw combat on Sipan, Tinian, Okinawa and helped with ‘clean up’ efforts on Iwo Jima. He also saw first hand the aftermath at Hiroshima. He fought through all of that, came home, built his house from the ground up and then had his family. I deeply admire my Grandfather for his strength and courage. He went through hell and is still one of the most gentle men you would ever meet. He and many others like him are true warriors.
My father is also a warrior. He didn’t see combat in his military career because of hardships with his family; while the rest of his unit went to jungle training after basic, he was sent home to a National Guard unit. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t fight. With no diploma and being laid off from his factory job, he went to walking the streets of my home town to read utility meters. Every day for almost 20 years he was out on the streets going from house to house as the only reader. They gave him three months to read a city of 25,000 people. After awhile, he told his boss he could do it in two, just to save the city money. And that is precisely what he did. All he really had to do was what he was told. But he fought to do the best he could for the people he worked for as well as his family.
Things are a little different now. We live in a time where many of us don’t have to face going into combat like my Grandfather did. And the job my father did is now done by computer. But that doesn’t mean we still don’t have to fight for things. Just in this day and age, some of the fighting is a little different. My sister had a child late in life. After her first died while she still carried it, she was determined to try again. When she and her husband found they were pregnant again they were overjoyed. But it was a long and very hard pregnancy that ended with a cesarean section. My sister fought through though, and in my mind she earned being called a warrior for bringing her daughter into this world.
I also think in many ways I am a warrior too. With the fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and myofacial syndrome, there are many days that all I want to do is to stay in bed. But I know if I did, I would not be able to provide for my family. I also want to provide an example of what is possible, even with these chronic conditions. That’s one of the reasons why I push to work, run and train in martial arts. Every day I fight to get out of bed and keep moving, knowing that the minute I stop moving might be for the last time as these disorders get worse as I age. But while I still have the will to want to move, the courage to try and the strength to see me through I will continue my fight.
Warriors come in all shapes and sizes. Yes, there are those who fight for their country. Those are warriors who deserve our gratitude. But there are also warriors fighting serious illnesses, fighting for causes they believe in or fighting to represent those that do not have their own voice. There are warriors out there fighting to heal from abuse, or fighting to get a job to provide for their family. Finally, there are warriors out there who are trying to better themselves, and by doing so they will find ways to better their community.
With all of this in mind,I think we need a new definition of the term warrior. My friend on Facebook is one who loves the idea of the glory of being a warrior and longs for the drama of fighting the battles of old. But I think it’s about time we stop romantasizing about what the warriors of old were. I think we truly need to start giving recognition to the ones that are in our own families and communities. We need to recognize the battles we face in everyday life and honor the strength and courage it takes to continue to fight those battles. That recognition is powerful as it would allow us to see that we aren’t as different as some would have us believe. It is powerful enough to see some of our own struggle in one another, which would help open our eyes to another’s problems. And person by person, I believe that recognition to be powerful enough that it could help to change the world.