Goshen News, Goshen, IN

August 30, 2013

Military and humanitarian efforts are vital

By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS

— So often we read the headlines or watch the newscasts or follow the Twitter feeds regarding international events and have trouble putting into context the scope of the news. Even during this era of war in the post 9/11 world, Americans have remained relatively isolated from battles and standoffs abroad.

For those with family members in the military, however, news reports of suicide bombs, IED explosions and firefights can hang heavy in the air and weigh heavy on the heart. We are truly grateful to all our members of the United States Armed Forces — and their families — who stand up to protect our safety and our rights as Americans. They go to dangerous places and witness awful things and sometimes pay the ultimate sacrifice for people they’ll never know. We cannot thank them enough.



With military tensions with Syria mounting, we hope for the safety of all who stand in harm’s way. Reports of chemical weapon attacks by the Syrian government on its civilians have punctuated the brutality of this 2-year-old civil war. Living a half a world away, it’s easy to feel disconnected from this crisis. But, for some here locally, the call for humanitarian action is part of who they are.

An article by Goshen News reporter John Kline on Thursday outlined the ongoing effort by members of the Mennonite Central Committee’s Regional Office in Goshen to gather and then provide basic supplies and aid to Syrian refugees. Over the past two years, it is estimated the aid organization has shipped 69,000 blankets, 45,000 hygiene kits, 11,000 relief kits and 12,000 infant care kits to refugees in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.



Just as it is comforting to have such a powerful, advanced and dedicated military, it is comforting to know that our own citizens strive every day to look past the politics of war and focus on the dignity of the human spirit. Volunteers at the Mennonite Central Committee deserve recognition for their efforts in making the world a little more bearable, one relief kit at a time.