Throughout the history of mankind, stories of war have forever been a part of the landscape. Stories of amazing survival and incredibly staggering deaths in massive numbers, faced with courage, have been woven through the fabric of our history.
Sweet victory. We were raised on stories of victory over oppression and terror, and we came to rally for the good guys, rejoicing in sweet victory.
The stories have been passed down, told and re-told by members of many families, of many generations, and there is glory in the telling.
The courage, the valor, the grace under fire are all symbolic reminders of our freedom, handed to us by a million soldiers over a million days and in so many ways.
Country at war. We remain, today, a country at war, whether we want to call it that or not. The horror of war is still playing out in Iraq, and the hard truth of it is reflected in the eyes of family members who wait and worry through the long months, praying for the return of their loved ones.
It strikes me that this war is so different from the wars of our fathers and grandfathers. I was reminded of this yet again just this past week when I saw an interview of two young men who recently served as guards to Saddam Hussein.
Telling their story. The interview was incredibly jovial, these young men talking about the imprisoned man’s taste for American breakfast cereal, such as Fruit Loops, and snack foods, alternating from his love of Cheetos to his discovery of Doritos.
It struck me that it seemed as though they were speaking of a celebrity. The one young soldier spoke of accepting cigars from Hussein, smoking a few of them, and saving one for posterity.
The men were glad to be back home, overjoyed to finally be able to reveal what their most recent military service detail had actually entailed.
An odd chord. Their smiles and their laughter could easily be chalked up to their relief to be back home, but still, their jovial manner in discussing this prisoner struck an odd chord.
The one young man said he regretted not having been able to say good-bye to Hussein, and they acknowledged that upon returning home they were told that Hussein expressed regret that they had left without saying their farewells.
While many have known all along that our undeclared war has always been with Osama bin Laden, Hussein is not exactly a choir boy worthy of such camaraderie as all this. Many have suffered horrendously and died under this man’s hand.
A different place. The world is certainly a different place than it once was, and it is reflected even in the way of our wars.
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