Monday, August 23, 2004

Review, 15 months later..

Review, 15 months later.

Last night we took our Iraq veteran sil to the airport and put him on a plane back to his base in Germany. His wife (my daughter) and their 3 children will be themselves soon getting on plane to join him at his base in Germany once they have cleared through the passport processing.

My connection with MFSO has put me in contact with Newshour with Jim Lehrer and it looks like the Seattle production will be including some of my thoughts in a piece they will be doing on Newshour in the near future. I'm a little nervous (okay I'm a ton nervous), and I am also calmly prepared to share the message a bit more widely than our immediate community.

What is the message, though, I keep asking is so large and complex, what can I do and say in a 30 second spot that will have the impact I would want the message to have? Needless to say, I'm reviewing in my mind 15 months worth of thoughts, reflections, contemplations and my efforts at study and reasearch and it just seems Huge!

Well essentially, they will be doing the filming, interviewing and they will be deciding what the piece will look like and what gets left on the cutting room floor. So wisely, I will let it be what it will be and trust the process, for I really don't have much control except the feelings of my heart, the experience of our family these last 15 months.

I really, really wish I had known about blogging much earlier than this, it would have served well to have had a journal to refer back to that had recorded thoughts and awarenesses as they emerged over these many months.

One of the ideas suggested to me by the contact person from Newshour is to film me in my church giving a sermon, as my sermons have taken on a quality that references the devastation on families as a result of the Iraq war and the President's decisions. Coordinating that now with my own local church, and we are a tiny, small-town Episcopal church in a rural community, quietly going about our worship services and for the most part what remains of a dwindling congregation, the remaining elderly who have kept this church building and presence alive through these many decades.

It is not at all our usual experience to have a national tv news show come to our church to film. So, we'll see, not sure this will actually materialize and if not, that is okay too. Already a part of my message is in the hands of the producer and of interest.

So my thoughts now are in a kind of review mode, and while there is indeed some relief that the soldiers in our family deployed, for now, are alive and safe, this is a good time to reflect on the last 15 months and bring some closure to our own family experiences.

But it is not, for me, the time to relax the vigil...there is more to be done as long as their are still soldiers (and civilians) dying and being maimed daily in Iraq. In fact, just today, have seen an article that points to one of my own fears..that of effects of Depleted Uranium on people exposed. I will post the article, as there appears to be evidence that the effects on soldiers in the 2003 Iraq invasion are manifesting themselves as malignancies in 40 % of soldiers in one unit alone in a short 16 months.

Sigh...sigh, I think I'll post my first sermon too, since it is exactly DU that raised my alarm enough to compel me to speak seems a human issue to me, a-political and certainly not something that could be construed as partisan. An issue military families will hold in common beyond who should be President or Commander-in-Chief and beyond the constraints of definitions about what constitutes a patriotic show of loyalty in supporting the troops. Make no mistake, my support of and for the soldiers is unwavering, they are the ones mustering up the courage to prevail at the risk to their own selves, lives and future livlihoods. However, I do also believe as civilians we have a responsibility to our soldiers to be looking after their well being by our own actions at home, not strictly how we vote in upcoming elections or our political differences, but the fact of issues that directly affect and impact our soldiers now and when they come home.

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President George W. Bush's statement in March 2006 after 3 yrs of war "a future President will have to resolve war in Iraq"


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