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Commentary ::
Its Always Hard to See Your Child off on Their First Day of War
05 Oct 2004
(Sigh) It seems like just yesterday you were changing their diapers, teaching them to ride a bike, helping them with their long division… they grow up so fast. You close your eyes and your baby’s not a baby anymore – they’re going to high school, having their first kiss, learning to drive, and before you know it, leaving for their first day of war.

The couple of weeks you have together after they return from boot camp are bittersweet, but let’s face it, you’re so busy running around buying them socks, flak-jackets, medical supplies, sun-tan lotion, anti-fungal foot crème, night vision goggles and everything else they’ll need while at war that the real gravity of the situation doesn’t set in. No, the real worry and heartache doesn’t start until that final day when they’re walking out the door.

You worry whether they’ll have a hard time getting along with the other soldiers in the war. After all, kids can be so cruel at that age, especially the ones fighting for the other side who’d like nothing more than to shoot your child or blow him to pieces with a rocket propelled grenade or makeshift bomb.

You worry that even if no physical harm comes to them during the war, the experiences they’ll have will traumatize them somehow and transform them mentally, leaving them distant and cold. You pray that the next time you see their smiling face it won’t be on the evening news standing in front of a pile of naked Iraqis.

You worry about all these things, and you can see that your child is worried too, but what might be the worst part of all is that the pride of their budding young egos often prevents them from confiding their feelings in you and you have to take a step back and let go.

Yes, it’s certainly hard to see your child off on their first day of war, but I suppose you can take solace in the fact that it’s all for a greater good. For example, as a result of our soldiers’ sacrifices, someday maybe these countries we’re fighting in will have such freedom that they can start forcing their children to go to war in other countries that aren’t so free. Yeah, that’ll be the day.
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