It’s been a fascinating week watching my daughter (via social media), across the country, get settled into her dorm at college in D.C. Equally fascinating has been my reaction to this whole fiasco. As previously documented, it was pretty tough on me when she left. My pride and joy was moving across the country to begin, what will no doubt be, her swan song as far as the father/daughter Maslow’s physiological and safety phase of our relationship. That makes me sad.
What makes me guilty is the fact that my daughter is going to college and she’s not being deployed. So far so good with my 16 year old son, he’s not likely to enlist and will be college bound. As I wallowed in my pity this week I read an article about parents whose son was near the end of his deployment in Afghanistan and was killed with less than two weeks prior to his demobilization.
I cannot imagine the sacrifice these young men and women, let alone their parents are making. I am so far separated from their reality it just doesn’t feel right. Advocates have suggested bringing back the draft as a means of sharing the sacrifice and raising awareness of the reality of armed conflict, but I’m not sure that’s the answer. Maybe it’s just a matter of a parent like me being aware…being aware that I haven’t yet had to share the sacrifice of others and be damn glad I haven’t. Maybe it’s a matter of gratitude manifested in political action and outreach and outrage that so many of our national treasures, young men and women like my own, are being sacrificed for what??? My father fought in World War II. There was a clear national resolve and purpose in that war. At the outset of the war in Afghanistan, I believe we could make the same case. But then we allowed our President to carry on a sick personal agenda in Iraq and our focus in Afghanistan was terminally damaged.
I am sad my daughter is gone. But, God willing, she will come home. I am so grateful I can say that. Other’s can’t. And we should not forget that…