Two superb articles The Post published on March 30 have a connection that may not be obvious. The lead Sports article, “The veteran,” was an excellent description of the “relentless grind” of a Major League Baseball season. Meanwhile, the front-page article “After the wars: A legacy of pain and pride” documented the travails of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The baseball story noted that the Nationals will play 162 games in 182 days, which is a grind. By comparison, I worked more than 150 consecutive days in Baghdad in 2008 before my first day off. Because I had to keep track of my hours, I know that each of the weeks included at least 100 hours on duty. And I was an Army civilian, working in the relative security of the “Green Zone”; the stress and danger I faced was trivial compared with that of service members in the “Red Zone.”
I don’t begrudge ballplayers their generous salaries for their rare talents, and I realize that their jobs can be arduous over the course of a long season. I played ball in college, I’m now a high school umpire, and I’ll always be a fan. But as an Army veteran, I hope all Americans retain the perspective of what is asked of our service members, with sacrifices and hardships unique to the military and law enforcement. If we do that, then we ought to do better as a nation of caring for them when they return from combat. For those who left part of their body, psyche or soul in a foreign land, the fight continues after their “season” is over.
Collin Agee, Falls Church