as I continue my Holy Week preparations and reflect on the 5 year anniversary of the War in Iraq I must tell you why I think about it so much on its anniversary each year. The reason is above. That is Aedan, my first son and middle child.
Aedan turns 5 on April 7, about 2 weeks after the war. I remember watching the "shock and awe" with a seriously pregnant wife, thinking about bringing my son into a nation at war, as I thought when I watched 9/11 with a pregnant wife, and brought my daughter into a world of terror 16 months prior.
Unlike many throughout the world, we did not have this war thrust upon us (like 9/11, which was). As I think of Aedan turning 5, becoming a full-fledged boy (no longer a preschooler), I am reminded of the 5 years of death in our nation and Iraq, in which close to 4,000 sons like Aedan have been sacrificed for things no one understands, in which countless boys like Aedan will grow up in America fatherless (and motherless, but I am a male and reflecting as a father). I think of the many more sons and fathers in Iraq that did not volunteer for war, but died when it was thrust upon them. I think about the boys my son's age and younger killed by terrorists, American soldiers, contractors, errant bombs and neighbors because they were related to the wrong person, were the wrong ethnicity or happened to be sitting in a car when the wrong person drove by.
I think about my father who fought in WWII, Korea and Vietnam for this nation and the rest of the world, only to retire when he realized the purposes behind a fight in Vietnam were getting fuzzy to his eyes. I think of the waning support the Veteran's Administration and military brass have given their old soldiers like my dad, choosing to ignore their claims of old war injuries and refusing to care for things they promised men like my father they would take care of. I think about all of the men and women returning from Iraq to a nation, its leaders, a VA and a military that is willing to use them as cannon fodder and for their own selfish purposes in their experiment of democracy spreading and fear-mongering for power, but will ignore their injuries, their pain, their emotional breakdowns and their broken lives for the next 50 years.
As I reflect, I am glad it is Holy Week. I need Easter. I need the Resurrection, which gives me hope in times like this. I am glad that I can put my hope in nothing less than Jesus instead of a constitution, democracy, a nation, a president, the military, guns, bombs, tanks, speeches and tax breaks.