An Old Man’s Dilemma
Tom Hanks was born from a humble family background in the heart of Chicago. He was unlucky to be brought up in a family of a single parent. His father fled from the family while he was still so young. He did not have a chance to get to know him better. This motivated him even further that he enlisted in the National Guard while he was still in senior high school. He was just 17 then. He did this on the backdrop of lack of scholarship and his lack of academic excellence in school. Hanks’ idea of joining the army was the only honorable thing to do considering the fact that his father also served in army. His uncle on the other hand was a Marine Corp. His grandfather was also a war veteran who participated in the Second World War. These were some of the men who served as motivation in his life. This common thing drove to the heights of serving his nation in the army. His life as a soldier was a noble life because he took the opportunity of making the most prominent form of sacrifice; that of putting down his life for his country.
In the garrison, he acquired military training, which comprised of both physical and weapon training. He became skilled in range practice, armed combat, handling of explosives and advanced technological techniques that were particularly essential in counter-insurgency. From dawn till dusk, he was always adorned in his desert sand, slat gray uniform, a jungle hat, heavy brown boots and a rifle. Occasional marches, mock fights, drills and games became part of his life. He took an oath to serve his nation and keep its honor. Moreover, he maintained the respect of his subordinates and peers while garnering it anew from his superiors. He became a decorated and distinguished soldier. His colleagues say that He seldom talked about himself, which contributed to a widespread sense among them that he was there entirely for them. Hanks life serves as a modern soldier’s paradigm.
Tom Hanks National Guard was activated four years after his entry into the army. After gaining two Liberation medals in Kuwait with the 8th Battalion and the 43rd Air Defense Artillery, he was deployed in Tal Afar. While in Tal Afar, he served as an intelligence officer providing security for his fellow soldiers as a machine gunner who also disarmed bombs. His job entailed looking for improvised explosive devices. To many, Tom Hanks was a lucky person to survive the wars he participated in. He went through them unscathed and without any injury whatsoever. He was an ideal soldier who was not just physically tough, but had intellect; he was not just a soldier who obeyed orders, but one who knew why he had to obey them because he had understanding. He was later moved to Baghdad where he was designated to the First Division Police Transition Team that involved engrafting with the Iraqi military units to train them for self-sufficiency. He became part of an eleven-man team called Team Stiletto. Daily casualties, mixed allegiances, attacks from extremists and suicide bombers, coupled with myriads of other challenges made Iraq a complex battle field. After the war in Iraq, Hanks came back home and attended classes in literature and public speaking. These were his life passion before joining the war in Iraq. He was one of the lucky soldiers to return home safe after several years to tell their story. His motivational talks were quite inspiring to the war veterans and to families of soldiers.
He lived to tell the story of life in the war front with all the soldiers now home after successful completion of the war in Iraq. It is indeed true that through Hanks the story of soldiers being human beings is highlighted. Some Americans never understand the dehumanizing effect of the war and how it negatively affects the lives of the soldiers once they resume their civilian lives. He was accustomed to a life of discipline and hardship. He was famous for his high principles, military brilliance and unrivaled valor. Hanks said that the soldiers adapted to the hard life no matter how extreme it was until it was normal life to them. Because of this, those adapting to ordinary life becomes a very daunting task.
While in Iraq, everything they did mattered. One’s survival, their friend’s survival and everything one engaged in was a matter of life and death. Hanks knew no fear because he had learned to overcome it by discipline. What also helped him to face danger or death bravely was the tradition of his regiment and the army in general. He always said that a good soldier needed to have both mental and physical courage. The surrounding by civilians in the wars heightened their obligation to the war such that it had effects on hundreds of civilian lives that were affected by the war. All decisions a soldier makes in the war front has a lasting impact. After returning home, there is often a sense of helplessness from the soldiers because they feel less needed at home. Hank described the feeling as isolation and powerlessness.
It is a common phenomenon for veterans who return home to feel like they do not fit in. Home is a place where people long for. Many think that home is where your family lives, but Hanks proved it was not just that to any soldier. Although he was finally home, he sometimes felt alone and out of place. He knew he had transformed, but he did not want to. Tom Hanks addressed these issues faced by soldiers in his motivational talks held across the country. The sense of dissolution in some of the soldiers’ lives highlighted by Hanks personal stories and motivational talks led civil rights groups to pressurize the government to offer psychological services like counseling to the war veterans. In so doing, they would learn to adapt to the new lives back at home. The killing and near death experiences really affect them psychologically such that they do not adapt easily to the life outside the war zone. The war had affected him emotionally, and like every war veteran, he possessed both invisible and visible scars. He always slept late after spending his day on his front porch reading about war stories. He seemed to yearn for a different way of life, away from the issue of war, but at the same time, he did not want things to change. Hanks did not want to tell people about some of his traumatic encounters in the battle field, even though he desperately wanted to for them to understand him.
Tom Hank’s story took a very severe twist in the wake of his death several months ago. The American Central Agency made the wildest allegations of a man many regarded so highly. It was alleged that Hanks was a huge financer of terrorism in America. This was quite a shocker to many Americans who knew him as a staunch advocate for the veterans’ after war life. He was a man who during peace time did many a social service, and in war times dedicated his life to save the nation from external aggression. The vents that surrounded his death to date are quite controversial with fellow civil rights activist crying of foul play in the events that led to his death.
The Anti-Terrorism Police Unit made claims that while participating in the war in Iraq, Hanks made links with some terrorist groups and he ended up being a sympathizer. The CIA also alleged that he funded and gave motivation talks to some youth urging them to join Al Qaeda, the leading and most feared terror group in the world. The news of his death spread like bush fire across the nation there were numerous protests across the country most being a cry for injustice leveled against an innocent American. The war veterans felt like the government was trying so hard to stifle the voices that championed for their rightful place in society after the trauma they experienced dealing with the war in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places of the world. Tom Hank’s death was quite a shocker to many people of the world, as the man who was once a hero and a symbol of honor was later branded an antagonist.
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