As a mother I can’t imagine my son coming to me and saying he’s going to join the military. I am not brave enough for that conversation. I don’t ever want to sit across the table and hear that news. Every time my son hyperventilates over “Call of Duty” (he bought Black Ops on the first day it was out) I worry the video games he plays are glamourizing war and putting ideas in his head. I fret that he will think it is fun to blow away the enemy, and that he will see himself as some kind of fearless, reckless Rambo who always wins the battle. I have always told him college is not optional, primarily because I don’t want him going down the road to war. Mostly because I couldn’t bear the knock on the door. I get a sick feeling in my stomach justing imagining it. If he chooses to fight I would rather he uses all his brains and brawn to fight for peace. Am I unpatriotic? Where would America be if all mothers thought this way?
I deeply appreciate the service of the young men and women who go into the military. My dad fought in World War II and my husband’s uncle died in the Korean War. On this Veterans Day, I’m grateful to them, to those who served and to those who still do. I’m grateful for those who sacrificed everything to protect our freedoms and those who returned home with scars that never heal. I’m grateful for those who march off to war in far away places like Iraq and Afghanistan, who push through their fear, even as they miss home and wonder why we can’t just work things out without violence and guns. I’m in awe of mothers who let their babies go. I don’t know how they find the courage. I’m sure they are thinking about how children grow up in the military, how it’s a pathway to education, how they forge lifetime bonds of friendship with fellow soldiers, how they learn leadership, how they are doing heroic work and fighting to keep us safe. I’m only seeing uniformed men coming up my walk and me collapsing.
To all the moms out there on this Veterans Day, I hope your children come home safe. I wish you peaceful days and restful nights. And I pray that our leaders work out problems diplomatically so mothers no longer have to let sons or daughters go off to war or be photographed clutching a flag or draping themselves over the coffin of a child. On this Veterans Day I was looking for a quotation that summed up my feelings. I found this one by Eve Merriam who wrote “I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, “Mother, what was war?”
For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.