Wednesday, March 19, 2008

a father/son reflects on 5 years

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.


RDF said...


Great post! I have the dubious honor of having my birthday on the Iraq war anniversary. Five years ago, I was at a Queens of the Stone Age concert in Ybor when I heard that "Shock and Awe" had started. Even though I still naively supported Bush on the heels of the alleged Afghanistan success, something felt very surreal. I don't know if its the uneasiness that something bigger was going on or just concern over friends in the military going to war. It had to be the right move, Colin Powell supported it. Oh yeah, never mind.

One thing I keep wrestling with is whether the perception of robber barons and war profiteering by the current administration are reactions to an unpopular war or has the current administration raised the bar on them. Gas closing in on $4.00/gallon. The economy tanking. Pick your pain. Is this the embodiment of the military industrial complex Ike spoke of? Sorry for the rant. It probably comes down to the fact that I have a four year old son and one on the way. What kind of world will this be when I can no longer take care of them?

"...thy kingdom come, on Earth as it is in Heaven..." I hope and pray so.


kristi said...

thanks for such a moving post and for putting it so eloquently (folks, yes, i'm biased, but i'm still being truthful here).

i used to be one of those people who really didn't care much about the world around me--didn't think it affected me much, didn't want to get involved in causes.

having a child (3 times) really has changed that for me. not necessarily in the ways other people talk about--worrying about what kind of world our kids will inherit when we are dead and gone (i try not to think about that stuff because it's a never-ending thought cycle). but i definitely connect in a very deep and very real way with all the mothers (and fathers, but i am commenting as a female) who are having to let go of their children (and they really are babies, so many of them, even if they don't think they are) and wonder if they will ever see their little boys and girls again.

and then i can't even bear to think about how these families feel when they get word that they have lost children in this entire debacle--this thing that i don't feel like we ever should have been a part of in the first place--and i just cry every time.

it really makes me angry at the people in charge, those people dancing on the steps of the White House while our sons and daughters die overseas.

i need easter, too.

g13 said...

this post reminded me of the raging sermon you spoke against the war at the jorge hernandez cultural center. i don't remember if the sermon preceded the war or not, but it was an excellent, prophetic piece that i remember still.


RDF said...


Do you still have notes or a transcript of the sermon g13 spoke of? It might be interesting to post.

Just a thought.


I agree that worrying over the distant future can be pretty overwhelming and kind of futile. Tough to avoid sometimes, though. Recently, I have awakened to many of the issues of injustice and corruption in our society and their magnitude. The war, homelessness, poverty, true diversity, opportunity for all, politics in general - I always thought there was hope. That we were the "good guys." That bad things existed but the checks and balances were in place and actually worked. I guess its a belief in the system based on upbringing (Reaganite) and naivety on my part. That system scares me now. The playing field's not level and the refs aren't calling the game fairly.

Thanks for y'all's thoughts.

Easter, anyone?