Monday, March 19, 2007

A thank you to Nick!

We received news on Sunday that our friends' son was injured in Iraq. He is now safely at Ramstein AFB in Germany being treated. All we know is that his right arm was penetrated by a bullet shot from a Mosque in Al-Fallujah. It apparently also crazed his stomach area. Nick reports that he recognized the shooter from the streets of Al-Fallujah. Due to being wounded, he missed the chlorine attack. I am not sure whether to be grateful or angry.

I know Ramstein AFB. Many years ago, I drove on the back of a U.S. military lorry to Ramstein to receive my shots so I could work for the U.S. military as a translator and clerk. I'm still not sure why I needed to be re-immunized, but that is beside the point right now. Nick's mother is thankful that her son is alive. He is such a polite, hard working and good looking young man (at my age, politeness counts a lot).

I am the product of the last great war, WWII. I had an uncle who fell at Soisson, France in WWI, an uncle who committed suicide either during or at the end of WWII, and a cousin who was about the same age as Nick when he was taken prisoner of war in France as Nick was when he was deployed to Iraq. I am angry that our president would take us into a war that we cannot win. I am angry that his actions destabilized the Middle East (better the enemy you know than the enemy you don't). I am angry that he apparently does not know history, or if he does, ignores it.

Please realize, I am old enough to remember the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu,Vietnam and the Americans plunder in getting involved in the area. I realize that Saddam Hussein was an evil man, but, to me at least, it is crystal clear that our current administration lied to us about the reason to go into Iraq. Presidents itching for a fight do not serve us well. To foreigners, President Bush is the epitome of the "ugly American." In fact, at this point in time, I am ashamed to be an American.

This is the second time in my life that I am ashamed of being a citizen of a particular country. I grew up with the disgrace and shame of being German. So, I suppose, I should be used to the feeling, but I realize I am not, particularly when it comes to the death of our young men and women and the effect war has on the children of war-torn countries. I know personally the aftermath of war on children and adults alike. I have lived it, lived with others affected by it, and am still living it. So I beg your indulgence for this diatribe.

In honor of all those fallen and injured in this current war, an old poem from the first war that was to end all wars. The poem was written by a Canadian while treating the wounded in Flanders.

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead.

Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thank you Nick, for your sacrifice.

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