Tuesday, November 22, 2005

In Children's Eyes

A common thing that gets sent out here are pictures drawn from children. The current batch is from a group of grade-schoolers from Aviano Air Base, Italy. The chow hall right now is lined with crayon-colored drawings of turkeys. It never ceases to amaze me what goes through the minds of children. Most of them are of turkeys begging for their lives, but some are all dressed up like Uncle Sam, one is of a “hulk-turkey”—a green Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle looking thing with swords. Quite a 6-pack as well. Friends have had entire classes of kids mail them letters and drawings of encouragement. On the wall here we have two giant 15’ long sheets of paper covered with handprints and signatures saying “stay safe” or “hurry home.” All of these warm the heart.

Sarah and Sammy still only really understand that I should be home and I’m not. They don’t grasp anything about why I’m here or what I’m doing. I have a little R2D2 figure on my desk that I found here (no, I have no idea what it was doing in the CAOC) that is the same toy that Sammy carries in his hand or pocket everywhere he goes along with his stuffed dog he renamed as “Odie” when Emily got pregnant. He understands that. But even if I explained the things I’ve seen on the giant video screens here to them, I doubt they would ever really grasp what Daddy’s been doing.

I was looking at these the other day in the chow hall. Some had glimpses of war on them (planes flying overhead, camouflage, etc.) but they really have no idea. I was wondering when war becomes a reality for them. What are the kids up range doing or feeling as they have had war around them for pretty much their entire lives? Sammy was one year old when Operation Iraqi Freedom started. I can’t fathom having to protect him from insurgent attacks or falling bombs, without my own weapons of war to do it for me.

Man I’m bumming myself out here.

On a better note—I got quite a reaction from my post the other day. Honestly I just got tired of watching constant news reports of the “efforts” congress was undertaking. I got nothing but great emails and words of encouragement. I even had an offer to have a care package sent to us here in the CAOC by Mrs. Davis from Wisconsin (her blog: "One For the Road"). I think the majority of the traffic came from being mentioned on SMASH’s milblog ”Military Outpost." I appreciate both of them for recognizing my blog, and from the many readers that sent me email regarding that last post.

I broke my promises to you to make this more light-hearted. Maybe I’m just going through a phase.


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