The words are everywhere in the towns closest to U.S military bases. M & I drove down to a wedding at Camp Lejeune near Jacksonville, NC, and as we approached we saw a marked increase in the number of yellow ribbons and “Support Our Troops” signs on local businesses. The wedding was at the Officer’s Club on base, not exactly a neutral sort of setting, and as such I was apprehensive about the conversation subjects that might arise. I’m not a supporter of our president’s choices of late, but believe we’ve taken steps that cannot be taken back and must follow through at this point, so I was concerned that the subject would come up and I would feel forced to voice an opinion that would most certainly not be popular.That didn’t happen. What did happen was a realization.We walked into the reception and among the first soldiers I spoke to – there were few there who weren’t either solidiers or their families – had relatively severe damage to his neck and upper chest, presumably from shrapnel. He spoke with the harsh gravelly tone of a healing neck wound. We greeted one another briefly and moved on, but the moment lingered for the remainder of the evening. During the ceremony the Chaplain had inextricably connected the couple with the corps. At the toast the Captain whose wedding it was reminded us of the importance of family, even as he lauded the young men who had served in his tank with him in the recent war. All of this energized my values and reasons for opposing the president, not because I oppose the work that the armed forces are doing now, but because I oppose the reasons given for endangering them in the first place.Though there are numerous attempts to rewrite history and put different words in the president’s mouth of late, the truth is the reasons stated for the country to go to war were not backed up by facts. We’re there for reasons other than those stated originally, and while we might debate one another’s opinions about the real reasons, the reality is we just don’t know. But that doesn’t mitigate the fact that soldiers are dying, and that they don’t deserve to, and aren’t being told why.Here, at home, we hear bluster about “patriotism” and lack of it when dissention is voiced, but that’s what these young men and women are fighting for – our right to speak, our freedom. The young captain with permanent scars and dead friends still fresh in his mind fights and serves so that I might be able to engage in freedom of speech. It’s frightening, really, that so many conservatives attack when they hear dissent, yet turn around and speak of freedom in the next breath. Dissent is freedom. I dissent because I respect and feel proud of those Marines, their choices, and their lives – that’s why I disagree so strongly when they are lied to, sent into danger unjustly, and then used as political pawns. It’s a tragedy that we often lose sight of, safe in our freedom here at home.