Good Friday Lament: How many more of our children will die in Afghanistan?
This week, it has been my honor and my sorrow to publish the names and pictures of five more soldiers from Ft. Campbell killed in the War in Afghanistan. The fallen range in age from 21 to 39. Their hometowns stretch across the globe from the Republic of Palau, 500 miles east of the Philippines, to Moosup Connecticut. Thanks to a wonderful website, Honor the Fallen, I am able to share them to you.
I hope each one of you that read this site take the time to look at their faces. So earnest. So devoted. So committed.
I admit that my eyes fill with tears when I see their pictures. I see my father – whom I never had the privilege of meeting. He gave his all from wounds suffered in World War II, succumbing when I was six weeks old. I see my son, a proud member of the Kentucky National Guard who went to Afghanistan and blessedly came back unwounded (not unscathed – no one who goes there comes back unscathed). I see my friend Mark's son, a soldier who was shot in the face in an insurgent attack but is surviving. I see a young Hickman County High senior who is so eager to realize his dream by becoming a US Marine when he graduates.
I am not happy to have these faces on our website. War is not a happy thing. But war should not be forgotten. Swept under the rug. No news. No stories. No breaking in on our favorite programs. No parades when Johnny comes home. No funeral corteges.
Unseen. Forgotten. Military families are left to comfort each other. America has other issues- the budget “battle” (soldiers must see the irony in calling it a “battle”), the deficit, Libya, the Jersey Shore, William and Kate’s wedding, Easter, The Market, oil prices. As the King of Siam said, Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
When five soldiers (four from Ft. Campbell in Kentucky) are killed by an Afghan soldier, it begins to sound eerily like Vietnam where infiltration was not the aberration, but the norm. When soldiers in little firebases come under “insurgent” attack, does that not sound very much like another war that our leaders bend over backward to distinguish from the present conflict? I remember Vietnam’s little fire bases. Do our leaders?
On this Good Friday, the day when Christians believe that the Man of Peace gave his life for us, isn’t it time to ask for peace? Isn’t it time to admit that we don’t know what winning is in Afghanistan? If we are not winning, then what are we doing?
On this Good Friday, I lament as a mother at the loss of these our children. I invite you, dear readers, to look in their faces, and join my howl of anguish, asking “Lord, how long?”