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War And Fear, A Child’s Perspective

My four-year-old son is playing with Scott’s leatherman.

E: This is a rocket ship that shoots fire at the bad guys.

Me: What makes them bad guys?

E: They shoot fire at the rocket ship.

Me: So the rocket ship is acting in self-defense?

E: The bad guys are scared so they shoot fire making the rocket guys scared so they shoot fire back.

I wrote down this interchange a few weeks back because I was moved by E’s insight. And with the last combat troops leaving Iraq this week, I found it apropos to include it here.

Because I agree with my son, war and fear are close.  Intertwined even. And I hope that our leaving lessens the fear. In Iraq. In neighboring nations. In our own.

But regardless of how I view our time in Iraq, I am overjoyed that so many are home.

To them: Welcome home. And thank you.

I embedded a homecoming video from CNN, and found an entire blog filled with videos of troops returning to their families, Welcome Home.

And I cried. As I always do when reminded of individual sacrifice for a greater purpose.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

9 thoughts on “War And Fear, A Child’s Perspective

  1. Wow, that struck a nerve. We’re home from Iraq. Refresh, Reload, Rearm and Redeploy to Afghanistan. The success of Bush’s War in Iraq was under reported and the violence that WILL follow our withdrawal will also be under reported.

    My Dad deployed to German in 1947 to maintain the Peace as did I 1985. A dangerous, unstable dictatorship was deposed in Iraq. No WMD’s? No shit? You ever play poker? We called his bluff. A bluff that was aimed at Iran not us. The fighting will continue.

    Desert Storm, 272 days 23 hours, 29 minutes.
    Germany, five years.
    Nobody was there to greet me at the airport either time. But that’s okay. I volunteered to stand my post on the wall so that you could sleep safe.

  2. wow. this was intense for me… while i am the wife of a navy pilot, i purposely don’t use the term “military spouse.” that’s not how i define myself… i am one, as well as many other things.

    that being said, thanks for writing this. it really resonated with me because my personal stance with regards to the war is not a popular one amongst the community i am in, given my husband’s line of work.

  3. Beautiful, Alex. And your boy is onto something big.

    I want to talk with you sometimes. I want to talk with you all the time. I want to talk and talk and talk, in fact. If we lived near each other? I would beg you for a weekly coffee date.

    We are pacifists, but we’re raising this child with bipolar who is drawn to violent language and images and play like ants to spilled sugar. It makes things complicated sometimes.

    And from me, too: Thank you for your service, and welcome home.

  4. I’d seen this vid a few days back. it’s impossible not to cry.

    My kids are starting with the “I kill the dragon” , I kill this, kill that…. and I cant help but wonder what the heck they think they are talking about

    pretty insightful your kid

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