Normally, I would steer clear of something like this. But sometimes, an opinion will not be held down regardless of whatever fire it draws.
I refer to the Cindy Sheehan *stuff*.
I know I tread a fine line here: never, ever would I normally
consider denigrating a mother who's lost a son in time of war. There have been far, far too many in our national history who've lived that nightmare. I can never forget having lived in a town where, in the early stages of World War II, a local mother received notice that all five of her sons had perished in one battle.
I refer, of course, to the five Sullivan Brothers of the USS Juneau,
lost when their battle-damaged cruiser -- limping back to base after a horrendous night engagement known as the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, November 13, 1942 -- was torpedoed and sunk at 1106, that same morning.
Hard as it would seem to have to accept the loss of one cherished son, how much moreso to suffer the shock of losing all five in one fateful moment in the ongoing history of Man's inhumanity toward Man.
Like Sheehan's son, her boys all volunteered to serve. Like Sheehan's son, all knew what they were signing up for, and why.
Unlike Sheehan, Mrs. Sullivan didn't go park herself in a ditch outside of Warm Springs, Georgia, demanding an audience with President Roosevelt, to demand to know why her sons were dead.
Earlier today, I listened with eyes brimming, to a pain-filled caller to a radio talkshow -- a mother in Indiana -- whose son served in Iraq, and is shortly to go back (a US Marine). I listened to her tearfully excoriate Sheehan, for belittling and demeaning not only her own sons' memory, but that of every other mother's son/daughter now serving in the US Military.
She was poignant, passionate, deeply upset and very, very persuasive. Far moreso than Sheehan has been coming across.
Let me be clear: I'm not a parent. I have no children to lose to war, disease, accidents or other forms of harm. I do have nieces and nephews, but it isn't the same. I do have a number of friends, colleagues and peers, who have had, do have, and perhaps will have sons or daughters in harms' way. Each and every one of them volunteered to go. Each and every one of them volunteered to serve. Each and every one of them knew what the bottom line was, and could be.
Each and every one of them volunteered, anyway.
I wasn't alive in 1941. I can't speak to the national feelings and motivations that ignited after December 7, 1941. But I was alive -- and intensely riveted to my radio -- on the morning of September 11, 2001. I know what emotions ignited within me then and since. And I was a wealth of emotions as that week progressed. Not the least of which was, I wanted to follow what so many of a younger generation's response to a naked act of aggression had been, almost 50 years prior.
But at 44, reality -- chronological and physical -- was forced to intrude.
I also know that, had I been younger, my mother would not have wanted me to respond to the clarion call. But she would have understood my need to. She would have, with all the emotional rollercoaster ride a mother knows at such times, accepted it. And had I made the ultimate sacrifice, she would have grieved...but accepted that I had followed my calling, and been lost to a higher calling: service of my country.
She would not belittle me or my fellows, by claiming I'd been 'duped'.
Cindy Sheehan has become a symbol of the defeatist, appeasement-oriented Left. She sullies the memory of her son, and the military-serving sons and daughters of every parent in this nation. There is, for me, no other view.
I have pity for whatever inner pain she endures at the loss of a loved one. I regret her son died. I regret that lower lifeforms of dubious antecedence and odious intent chose to attack us in such a savage manner, requiring thousands of young Sheehans to make a life-altering choice: service to self, or country. I regret each one of them who falls on my behalf, because I'm too old and unfit to stand for myself against the thugs and monsters who the ACLU would rather defend the rights of.
But my genuine sympathy is reserved for those who lose a loved one, and don't belittle and demean the lot of them with such a ham-handed, politically-motivated demonstration as that being put on by Sheehan.
Was Sheehan's son a dupe? Or are we, to give Cindy Sheehan her 15 minutes (and more) of shame, while indirectly smearing our servicemen and women -- so many of them sons and daughters -- who are doing what they volunteered to do, on all of our behalf?
Cindy, I'm sorry for your loss. Now grow up and show some real respect for your son's memory. Stop letting Moveon.arg drag you down their compost-riddled path. Unless, of course, you volunteered.
Then, best of luck on your shallow, selfish journey. Only you have to face your son in the hereafter, for your conduct here and now.
Being the devoted, courageous lad he was reputed to be, I have no doubt he'll forgive you. Sons are like that.