It seems like yesterday when my son phoned to say he was to be deployed to Iraq and now he has gone from us to be stationed somewhere near Baghdad with no exit date. I can only hope his stay will pass as quickly as did these last few months.
Friends and family met at the National Guard Armory for a small ceremony where a contingent of 50 Guardsmen prepared for a parade of the colors. What surprised me was the mature ages of those weekend warriors about to be deployed, my son being one of the youngest pilots at 37 years old. Doubtless, many of them had seen years of service to their country and now, nearing retirement, were part of our National Guard, never thinking that they would be called away from their duties for an unspecified amount of time to serve in what Bush has called his unwinnable miscalculation in Iraq.
Families visited with their loved ones, children ran and played all around us, one soldier cradled his three week old baby in his arms; there was even a family dog wagging his tail and nudging a reassuring pat on the head from his owner. The usual prayers were routinely offered up upon which I turned my back in silent protest at the illegality of this war and wasteful use of taxpayer money and lives lost. Surely our God of love could not have told George to wage this preemptive strike and carnage in His name.
Worried families were reassured that their loved ones were going to build a better Iraq and that we should not listen to CNN, which persistently showed us the negative side of the war. We were told that progress was being made and that there were lots of positive things not spoken about on CNN. Remind me to tune into Fox News.
We said our farewells and returned home. I did not sleep well that night and waking early, turned on the TV just in time to see the news SkyCam helicopter zoom in on the eight Black Hawks ready for take off on the flight line. Their rotors spinning and engines roaring as the lead helicopter hovered, dipped slightly and then rose, followed by the other seven, into the brilliant red and gold sunrise of the eastern sky. I silently wished them all God speed.
What manner of war is this that we have to employ 50 mature Arizona National Guardsmen, reservists, the economically disadvantaged, mercenaries and young women to fight enraged Arabs, yet neither our Congressmen nor our Sunshine Patriots have many of their loved ones serving in the war they created. Why is it their sacrifice alone and not ours, as we continue our lives untouched by the chaos we have caused?
If you support Bush's oil wars, then sign up now, your country needs you. The game plan has changed and we are now the invaders surrounded by hostiles only too happy to supply the growing Iraqi insurgents with the means to expel us for however long it takes or until hell freezes over, whichever comes first.
I feel so ashamed that I wasn't able to pull strings to get Rob into a cushy Champagne Unit as Poppy Bush did for George W. during the Vietnam debacle. I am not proud of what we have done, but I will wear a yellow ribbon and wait and watch the skies for those eight black birds to come skimming over the desert mountains, backlit by another glorious Arizona sunrise, unharmed and home safe where they belong.
Pauline Erlick lives in Incline Village.
© Copyright 2004 tahoebonanza.com