Thursday, November 11, 2004

VETERANS' DAY

So far, my husband’s company has been relatively lucky. Some guys have been wounded but they have not suffered major injuries or deaths. I can’t say the same for his sister companies, one of which has seen several guys killed in action in only a few months. Now the proximity of attacks is coming closer and I’m afraid it will just be a matter of time before the luck of my husband’s company runs out. My husband told me he feels like the danger is closing in on them.

When my husband’s unit lost its first soldier, the guys had been in Iraq for less than a month. Each time I heard of another casualty, I felt grief for the fallen soldier and his family, but relief that it wasn’t my husband. And then I felt guilty for feeling glad that it was another soldier who had been killed. Last fall, a soldier from my husband’s hometown was killed when his helicopter was shot down in Baghdad. The soldier had the same first name as my husband. When we attended the funeral and the priest kept mentioning the soldier’s first name, it was like previewing my husband’s funeral. Still, I could feel grateful, and guilty, that it was him and not my husband.

The U.S. military and Iraqi forces are on their way to taking back Falluja, but car bombs killed at least 17 people in Baghdad today and fighting continues in Mosul, which used to be a model of calm. And insurgents have kidnapped three relatives of Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

There have been accusations that the media and others are ignoring the good things happening in Iraq, but bad news is all I see and hear about from my husband. In this war, as in any conflict, your skill as a soldier will only take you so far. It only takes one moment of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. But I’m still hoping against hope that my husband’s luck will hold until he comes home. And on this Veterans’ Day as we remember those who gave their life serving our country, I can only think of the soldiers who are still with us, fighting in a war thousands of miles away.