Loyalty makes unity possible

Stabroek News
January 15, 2016

Previous Point! We should not attempt to smother aspects of the ethnic mosaic

Dear Editor,

When I woke up this morning, there were a beautiful sunrise, which I enjoy looking at. There was a time when I didn't enjoy the sunrise. I was in a fog of war. In 2010, I joined a group of combat veterans who helped me make it through the fog of war. I was able to get help with my fog. Even though it's a diverse group, there's a tremendous amount of unity in our diversity. There are many, many reasons for our unity such as our shared combat experience and suffering from the battle scars.

In America, almost every day a soldier who has been to war commits suicide. Even though many of our veterans are no longer fighting on the battlefield of Iraq and Afghanistan, we are still fighting. We're fighting against a new enemy, the enemy within: ourselves. I believe the enemy within is the greatest enemy. Someone said it is much easier to conquer the world than to conquer the enemy within. Many of the veterans brought the enemy home with them from the battlefield.

After retiring, the veterans are no longer fighting for their country, but they are fighting to keep from alcohol abuse, to keep marriages from failing. So what is it that keeps veterans from self-destruction? Loyalty. Loyalty to God; loyalty to country; loyalty to each other. And they keep fighting by coming to meetings. They keep fighting and coming because they'll never leave any soldier behind. They keep fighting and coming because they know that one person can defeat a thousand and two people can defeat ten thousand. They keep coming even though they are not paid, nor is it mandatory to come. They come to give back. They come to help pick up the young soldier just off the battlefield, badly broken, bruised and damaged. They come to give him hope, just as they were picked up and given hope. they come to give him a lifeline. But the most important thing that they teach him is loyalty. They want him to know that he may no longer be on active duty but they still have an obligation to be loyal and care for him. And after he is well cared for, he must care for others.

Editor, what is loyalty? It is such a strange and rare word in today's society. How many people know what it means? I don't mean the dictionary definition of loyalty, because everyone knows it. I mean, what it really means?

I'll can say what it means to me. When I think of the men and women whom I fought alongside on the battlefield, they taught me what loyalty really means. When I think of loyalty, I think of them. Soldiers who willingly chose to pay the ultimate price to protect and defend the country. That's loyalty to me. And, the veterans who continue to meet weekly with me to help me overcome the fog of war. That's loyalty to me.

The most loyal men and women whom I have known are buried in veteran cemeteries all across America, and many of them are of a different ethnicity from me. Loyalty doesn't look at ethnicity. It looks at duty, honour, country and God.

Is the loyalty that I'm describing unique to American soldiers only? Can it happen in Guyana?

Editor, President Granger has been seeking ways to bring about unity and social cohesion. I know the President being a soldier has been taught much about loyalty. And I'm sure that he understands that in order to be united as a country and community it means that we must begin by being loyal to each other. Our unity is intricately dependent upon our loyalty to each other. For there can be no unity unless there is trust. Trust is the foundation of loyalty and unity.

The future we want, all of us want, is a more united country where everyone is judged by the content of his character and not by the political party he belongs to. But it will only happen if we work together. It will only happen if we are loyal to each other. It will only happen if we are aware that one people, one nation and one destiny means that we rise and fall together as a people. Our motto's very essence is based on loyalty. For us to go forward as a nation, it's imperative that we are loyal to each other and to our country. It will only happen when we believe that without loyalty, there can be no unity. Because it's loyalty that makes unity possible.

Yours faithfully,

Anthony Pantlitz