Monday, March 24, 2008

Sad Day.

I woke up this morning to the alarm on our TV, and news anchor on the local news talking about the "milestone" of 4,000 U.S. casualties in Iraq since the war started over 5 years ago.

Maybe its just lingering all day because I happened to hear it before I ever even opened my eyes, like coming out of a bad dream, only it was awakening to a bad reality.

4,000 lives. Im heartsick over this.

Later on GMA when they ran the stats as one of their headlines, they showed a few pictures of the fallen. One of the images was this one:

This is Mary McHugh at the grave of her fiance Sgt. James John Regan who was killed by an IED explosion in Iraq in February 2007.

I thought of the swell of patriotism I feel every day I get to wake up, make my coffee, wrap my kids in their warm blankies and kiss my husband goodbye as he straightens his tie and heads out to earn his honest living. I love this country for enabling a lifestyle of freedom, opportunity, comfort and safety.

I try to forget the darker side of patriotism. I bleed red, white, and blue... until you want to send my brother... my dad... my husband... to the line of fire. I can not begin to fathom living on pins and needles for each time the phone rings, wondering whether it will be the voice of my beloved on the other end... or the dreaded call every wife and mother prays to never get.

This woman, on the grave could easily have been me. She will never know their children, or bid this love of her life goodbye as he heads out to capture his own version of the American dream. Young death is the greatest tragedy, and happens all too often in car accidents and collapsed mines in every day happenstance.
4,000 young lives... to a war that I cant even bring myself to discuss.

I try to remember that "freedom isn't free," how Americans are the 'good guys,' and why I love being a part of this nation. I still feel the shock, anguish, and fear of 911 like it happened 5 minutes ago. I still feel sick to my stomach every time I hear the final count on the death toll of the darkest day in American history I have seen in this lifetime. Sometimes out of the blue I wonder about the children who are now adolescent who can not remember their father's smell, or I want to ask the widows if they still wake up every day reaching for the empty place in their beds.

I was looking for a fight to avenge like any patriot almost 7 years ago when I watched the towers fall.

Never in my wildest terror did I imagine coming to a place where the price tag of fatalities in an endless war would be greater than the hell this country had already seen. I trusted the powers that be to know more than I knew, and feel more (or less?) than I felt.

I don't know what I think anymore.

Red, blue... Obama, Hillary, McCain... POLITICS SCHMOLITICS!!

I just know that part of the American dream I am still privileged to live every day... involves being here, alive.

Thats hard if you're one of 4,000.

And counting.

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