Lt. Col. (Retired) David Grossman, MD, a former professor at West Point, has written extensively about the different kinds of people in our world. He says we live in a world that contains, sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. Most people are sheep. The sheep just want to go on with their lives. They don’t hurt other people and often even resist thinking there might be others who wish to do them harm. Unfortunately, the world also contains wolves. The wolves prey on the sheep. They take advantage of them and wolves would feed on and destroy the sheep were it not for the sheepdog. The sheepdog lives to protect the sheep. The sheepdog, Grossman says, often scares the sheep. Sheep do not understand sheepdogs. Sheep like to live in denial about the dangers of wolves, and of course the sheepdog is a reminder that there are wolves in the land.
The sheepdog pays a high price to defend the sheep. The sheepdog must constantly prepare for the moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door. The sheepdog cannot live in denial as can sheep. The sheepdog has experienced indescribable horror that a sheep would rather pretend did not exist. Grossman says, it is not necessary for the sheep to fully comprehend the price paid by the sheepdog, but it is critical that they acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifice that has been made. Where would we be without sheepdogs?
Those of us who live in the United States you are protected everyday by sheepdogs who serve in our Armed Services. Many throughout the world benefit from their service. Each one of them signed up to do what they do. They knew they would be going into harms way. They hunt wolves. Recently, we obtained a bit of a glimpse into the life of a sheepdog, when he was killed in Iraq.
Master Sergeant Joshua L. Wheeler, a member of Delta Force was killed near the city of Kirkuk during a daring rescue mission. Wheeler had been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan 11 times. He’d been awarded 11 Bronze Star medals. Over his 20 year career he’d likely hunted a lot of wolves. He’d also saved the lives of a lot of sheep. In the raid in which he was killed around 70 Iraqi prisoners were freed from ISIS captivity.
Wheeler is just one example of the thousands of sheepdogs who protect us. Where would we be without sheepdogs? What kind of life, what kind of society would we be. Thank you sheepdogs for all you have done for us.