Thursday, July 30, 2009

Too Quiet On The Eastern Front

It is a peaceful night here. It is quiet.
It is too quiet.

I admit to being spoiled. I said so in an earlier post. We’re a close family who talks together a fair amount, so if communication channels exist, we generally touch base with each other.

When the phone is quiet, and I don’t hear from Zach or from his girlfriend, at first I worry.

Then I tell myself that I’m being stupid, that he’s just busy or tired. Or working hard and needing to rest.

And then silence becomes deafening: I remember the communication shut-down policy on the base when someone dies.

Zach has not called us all day.

That means someone may be getting an awful message.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

As a nation, we value life. We hate loss of life.

I believe that human beings feel the same all over the world.

I believe that young men of free will are at risk of being hurt from voluntary risk-taking, no matter where they are in the world.

I know we have been lucky as a family, with the risks my boys have taken, that they are all whole and sound.

When a young person is hurt anywhere, anytime, people feel compassion and sadness.

When a young person is hurt from gunfire or a bomb as part of a military campaign, something else is added to that feeling.

I am moving very carefully and slowly here. I want to choose my words with great care and great honesty.

What is it that makes military death even harder for us?
What is it?

The military efforts in Afghanistan are escalating now in Helmand province because elections are coming up, and the Taliban is promising violence to anyone who supports free choice of leadership:

Many Afghan people want to vote.
Some Taliban, Afghan and otherwise, oppose it.
And there we are.

I wish the phone would ring. It would mean that, even though political and religious disagreements continue in countries far to the east of us…at least everyone is going home safe, to argue for another day.

Thank you for checking in.

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