13 August, 2009

Wartime on the Homefront

At various times this last year I've had up to three people I care about deployed to a combat zone at once. Grim returned safely (twice!), and now Sgt. B is safe at home, too.

I started to say in comments at B's place that if we could just bring home BillT, I would finally be able to sleep well.

But then I realized I'd spoken too soon: I have one friend whose son is about to deploy to Afghanistan and whose husband may follow the son, another friend with a husband in Afghanistan, and and at least 3 "acquaintances" (dear friends of friends) with loved ones deployed.

I'll never forget a particular moment on 9-11-01... I had read a lot about WWII and often thought about life on the homefront, wondered how they had stayed so strong for some many years while knowing their fellow citizens were dying on the other side of the world. On that horrible day in September, a bus drove by as I headed back to classes at the university. I stepped off the curb after it passed, and the realization suddenly hit me. It felt like the proverbial kick in the head... I said to myself, "Well, I always wondered how they did it. I guess I'll learn, now."

I don't have a family member in the military, so I wouldn't even think to compare the stresses and horrors of wartime life with a woman whose beloved is in a combat zone or a girl whose parent is deployed--I still don't know how they do it. But having friends go to war is no picnic.

Back on September 11, 2001, I'd never have thought the lesson would last so long...