Wednesday, March 19, 2003

My dad was never in the military. But my uncles were. They joined as a way to get to the U.S. You don't have to be a citizen to join the military. All three of them joined the Navy. They recently retired. I remember visiting my cousins at the military housing. The same line of white houses that sat next to one another.

While the family expects women in the family to get good grades and go to college, the guys follow my uncles into military service. One cousin is a Marine in the 101st Airbourne. Another is in the Navy. We have their military dress pictures up on our walls.

A co-worker in the Reserves is shipping out. He doesn't like the reasoning for this war, but he goes, because it's his duty and he will do what he had pledged he would do. He will keep his word.

They will all leave family and friends behind. My co-worker will leave his job. There are wives and children, parents, siblings, trying to fill the space they leave and hold it for them to return.

The news is broadcasting the same stuff on nearly every channel. Maybe I should head over to the Where is Raed blog.

I write this because I see pictures of peace protests and troop support protesters getting in each other's faces. I think people write off the troops a bit too easily. It's not that they don't have opinions, they're not allowed those opinions when they're in uniform. The way to be a peace protestor in uniform is not so much to not go (that'll just get you into military prison), but to do your duty as a medic as a soldier. To do what you can in your own way. The soldiers are the ones who will have upfront contact with the Iraqi people and the ability to steer conflict away from civilians.

This juggernaut of a war has begun. I don't think any one person can stop it, short of President Bush. But each person must try to do what they can in the situations that they are in, within their own personal power.

I have to ask myself, beyond the news headlines, who are the real people in this war, who are the people living in Iraq, who are the troops going out there (who even if they were against the war, cannot make mention of that, as soldiers they have given up certain rights), who are their families?

For most people, if they're not out protesting, we're attempting to go about a daily routine. Get up, go to work, etc. Some are either glued to the newscasts or trying to avoid them all together. If you have kids, talk to them. If you think you're confused, think how they are. Think about teenagers who have never seen war before and think war is a game and is a simple thing. Be there for the people around you.

No, today is not an ordinary day. But in ordinary things, extraordinary things can happen.

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