Thursday, November 19, 2009
Close to Nowhere
War is hell
Between Veterans Day and the horrible massacre at Ft. Hood, I’m feeling even more sentimental and patriotic than usual.
A “soldier” came in the newspaper office last Friday afternoon and got a subscription -- he’s headed off to Iraq. He said he knew several other “hometown heroes” and would try to get some pictures with them to send to us for the paper.
When he left, I said “be careful” and that I’d put him on the prayer list at my church. And I nearly cried.
When I was a teenager, I had friends and even one ex-boyfriend who went to Vietnam. I didn’t cry then, even though I watched the news every night and wrote all of them frequently.
My friend and neighbor Terry Williams often sent photos of himself and his buddies with huge machine guns, in dirt pits, etc. Terry married another friend (yes, I introduced them), but I never would give Sue (his wife) those pictures. I still have them in my mom’s old photograph albums.
Maybe it was because I was young and didn’t really “get it.” Somehow, it seemed more exciting than scary.
These days though, I don’t find it the least bit exciting. I have no idea about the rights or wrongs of the Iraq and Afghan wars, all I know is that I’m always concerned about all the military personnel even though I don’t know any of them personally.
Watching President Obama a week or so ago on the news as several flag draped coffins were carried off the transport planes and into waiting hearses was sobering. It seemed like those were “my” friends he was saluting.
It makes me feel somewhat better that our nation is treating our military with respect and dignity -- during the Vietnam Conflict our soldiers came home to ridicule and persecution.
Vietnam was “my” war, as WW II was the war of my parents’ generation. These current wars have also become “my” wars in a lot more personal way.
I met my friend Calvin James through email while he was in Afghanistan. We did some stories together through email and the first time I actually met him, it was almost like welcoming a family member home even though we were strangers.
On one visit home, Calvin brought me a hand-carved stone carafe and some tiny stone cups from Qutar. They are in a place of honor, as “family” gave them to me.
Our troops are our family. Let’s keep them close in our hearts and prayers.
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