sunset, Thanksgiving 2007
Over the weekend I added what was the 100th name to the list of female Coalition casualties serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. You can read about Ashley Sietsema and the other 99 women who have died at The Mother’s Day Project website.
Operation Iraqi Freedom. Funny how that phrase doesn’t begin to capture the violence, the bloodshed and the awful, incomprehensible loss of human life that has occurred since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 – most of those losses borne by the Iraqi people themselves. Iraqi Freedom, indeed.
Greatest Husband and I spent a long Thanksgiving weekend with our children in the Ozark mountain countryside. We hiked. We told funny stories. We ate meals of gargantuan proportions with great relish and enthusiasm.
At night, we slept with the deep peace and fitfullness that only happens when, as a parent, you know your children are safe and near. Even though our children are grown and living many states distant, there is something deeper and more settled at work when we are all together under the same roof.
Working on The Mother’s Day Project reminds me every damn day of the reality of war. No matter what our government calls it, this “operation” is war and dead people are not “free.” Parents are burying their children. Families are torn apart. Mothers and fathers are disappearing from the lives of their children. Husbands lose their wives, and wives their husbands.
If this blog has been a little light on posts lately, it’s mostly because I am finding it hard to distance myself from the task of cataloging the dead. Sometimes, the best I can do is fill the bird feeders, turn off the news and sit with a skein of yarn in my lap.
To say that I’m grateful or thankful for the comfortable life I have, seems to imply that I’ve done something to deserve all the goodness. I haven’t. Death and suffering is capricious. It could land on my doorstep tomorrow. Unavoidably. Without warning.
But this “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” was wholly avoidable. It occurred as a premeditated crime and no one should ever forget that fact.
If I’m thankful or grateful for anything, it’s that I have a very long memory.