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Monday, July 09, 2007

Children Grow Up Ms. Cooney

I read a piece this morning from a mother of a 23 yr old that signed up for the marines and is being deployed to Iraq. She disagrees with our actions in Iraq, yet her son signed up anyway.

There comes a point in a mothers life when they do not make decisions for their children anymore and when, as a parent, all we can do is be there for them. Support them in those decisions and pray for the best.

I know this because my son tried to enlist. He told me his feelings, he is not a huge fan of George Bush, but after speaking with his cousin who had just returned from Iraq, he said the people of Iraq deserve a chance to be free and he wanted to be part of helping them attain such freedom.

I half knew that because of the extent of his injuries when he was deliberately run over by a car, putting him into emergency surgeries for his bladder and rebuilding his leg and losing his best friend in a senseless murder, that the military would not accept him. Although he can walk and run again, the military didn't accept him, the damage to his body, at 24, was just too much.

The point here, is I supported his decision because children do grow up and we must honor their choices, whether we agree with them or not.

I was and am proud of my son for his desire to join and fight for his country.

I feel for this mother, I do. I know what it is like to not know if my son would live or die. I know what it is like to wait for news. I truly feel for her but I also feel she is dishonoring her sons choice to help others.

Where is her pride in her son? Why isn't that mentioned by her?

From Wapo:

July is a month I sincerely hoped would never come.

At the end of this month, my young son, my only child, deploys with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. His departure had been six months away, three months; now it is a matter of weeks. The reality of it hit hard when I got an e-mail the other morning from a friend. She wondered how I was feeling. As she put it, "Maybe because we're in July." Indeed.

This week my son gets his final leave before deployment. I will do my best to remain upbeat, to make his time enjoyable. Lest any of you who are not sending your children off to war forget, it is not easy. The young man that I bore 23 years ago, whom I watched methodically unwrap Christmas presents, construct elaborate Lego sets, shoot hoops, and play "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" on the violin at my father's burial, is going off to war; the same one who, at age 5, sang "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" in front of the National Christmas Tree. Of course, it is too much to expect that George Herbert Walker Bush would have any recollection of that event, or that he would care that his son is putting my son, and hundreds of thousands like him, in harm's way.

The ironies of this conflict are many for me. More than 30 years ago, I wrote my master's thesis at Columbia University on "Political Integration of the Kurds in Iraq." Little did I ever suspect that any child of mine would be a pawn in a senseless conflict in that distant land. I live now on Army Navy Drive, where, hourly, I witness the comings and goings of helicopters destined for the Pentagon and the White House. Every time I head for the George Washington Parkway, I pass Arlington Cemetery. For a while, I even had an office with a view of Arlington Cemetery. I would frequently shudder as military planes did flyovers during funerals to honor fallen service members.

My problem here is she speaks of her feelings yet doesn't mention her sons feelings. She speaks of her beliefs but doesn't even show her son the courtesy of giving his reasoning or his beliefs.

Instead of showing pride in her son because he wishes to serve his country, in fact, he volunteered to serve his country, she politicizes it by mentioning the draft in her last line.

I ask again, where is her pride in her son and where is the respect for his decisions?

Blue Crab Boulevard speaks from the same experience here and perhaps Ms. Cooney should read it.

I have seen my son go to Iraq twice. I have stayed here, worried for him, twice. I stood in for him at the funeral of the only soldier in his unit to have died while in Iraq. These are things that are part of having a child who chose to enlist. Those who wait at home also serve. But please, do not project your feelings, your politics onto your son, who chose service to his country. Spare him the emotional conflict and the distractions of projecting your attitudes onto him. Support him and the choice he willingly made.

He is a marine, my son is a soldier. They both chose their paths. It is our jobs as parents to be proud of them and to support them in their choices in life. Yes, many people in this country do not understand the sacrifices involved, but we who wait at home must do our part and give our children, grown now into adulthood, our love and support. Never let them feel you waver in that support, he needs it. And you need to give it, as much for yourself as for him.

Compare the two articles. One is full of pride and one is full of despair.

One shows complete respect for their child's decision and one shows no respect.

Ms. Cooney, I would say to you that if I can read your words and see the bitterness, do you honestly think your son cannot feel it? Is that how you wish your son to feel as he heads to a battlezone?

Your child is grown up and he has made a decision.

Respect it and be proud of him, this couldn't have been an easy decision for him either.

A message to Ms. Cooney's son: Thank you and God Bless.

Tracked back by:
Nothing Like Having Your Family from The Coalition of the Swilling...