Archive for December 3rd, 2009

Reality Bites

December 3, 2009

I admit it. I don’t stay terribly up to date on current events.

But last night, I tuned in to see the President address the county, and the Cadets, at the United States Military Academy at WestPoint.

My motives were not pure. My nephew is a senior at WestPoint, and last night sealed his fate.
Over the years, the war has been something terrible that we hear about and read about, but seemed very far away.  Like the attacks of 9/11, the country reeled in horror as they watched the planes crash into the towers, but those of us that reside in lower Manhattan actually lived it.  We remember the stench that wafted our way every time the wind changed. We remember evacuating the office and walking home with the other shell shocked New Yorkers who were still trying to figure out what happened. We remember our then 21-month-old baby, sitting in her high chair amid a group of strangers that escaped from the crumbling towers and took solace at our home. But most of all, we remember the dazed family members congregating near St.Vincent’s hospital, just a few blocks away, clutching photos and the hope that their loved ones would be found. That hideous vision of the planes crashing into the buildings was no longer just movie footage. It was sadly, horribly real, and something that took months to recover from.

Last night, as I watched CNN, I saw a few familiar faces in the crowd. Suddenly, this whole war became very, very real. I saw the faces of young men and women who have come to our home over the years and spent many pleasant Saturday nights, eating home cooked meals and sharing their lives with us. Suddenly, the inevitable deployment that we all pushed out of our minds, is happening. For real.

I am haunted by the idea that most of those people in that beautiful auditorium are going off to Afghanistan to fight for the rights of others. I am more haunted by the thoughts that some of them may not come home.

As a pacifist, I find it hard to support this war. As an aunt, and I hope also a friend, I find it impossible.

Last night, the price of a free education at the school that Forbes Magazine voted #1 in the country, got very, very expensive.


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