Sunday, January 08, 2006

Forever Young

My mother’s baby brother Marvin Lee Ferguson was one of the first soldiers killed in World War II. Marvin was on the USS California at Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941 when the Japanese attacked. He was just a kid. My mother says that receiving that telegraph was the most traumatic things that had happened in her young life. The image that stands out in my mother’s mind is of Marvin Lee standing proudly in his Navy whites with his sailor had cocked to one side smiling for the camera. He has not aged a day since December of 1941.
War, can seem distant and impersonal. But if you were members of one of the 2210 families who have died in Iraq (seventeen on yesterday alone) the war becomes very up close and personal. In fact, it will change those lives forever. There will be children who will never know their mother or father. There are mothers and fathers that will grieve for the rest of their lives.
I have attended military funerals. All funerals are sad but seeing that flagged draped coffin and hearing the twenty-one gun salute and the lonesome sound of a bugle playing “Taps”, it reaches somewhere inside and evokes a sadness unlike any other.
There are those who debate whether this war is justified and they point evidence that shows that the president was right or wrong, but the soldiers I have known did not get into that debate. Right or wrong their country called upon them and they kissed their wives and kids and mamma and daddies and brothers and sisters goodbye and they went off to war and left the debate to the scholars.
History will tell. Historians will look back through the magnifying glass of time and evaluate the evidence and pass judgment on this administration. And it will be written for all to see if the war was a blunder by an inept administration or if it was justified and somehow made the world a better place.
I can tell you this: no matter what the verdict, there will be families that will be forever changed because of pictures on mantles of smiling faced soldiers who will remain forever young.

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