When I was in the fourth grade I remember that Operation Desert Storm was taking place. I remember that I made posters in my school from newspaper clippings to hang up around the hallways and the classrooms to “Bring Home the Troops”. I remember writing letters to our troops and making care packages. I remember the images on the TV of the oil fields on fire and the missiles shooting through the night sky. I remember seeing how a sand camouflage tank would jolt when it shot at something. I remember the yellow ribbons and the American Flags I helped pass out.
Today, years and years later, there is a new war from unfinished business. And I remember the day it started five years ago. I remember the protests and the prayer vigils. I remember the reoccurring video footage of the twin towers falling over and over again. I remember the images of congressional meetings and the speeches of justification. I remember watching the first attacks and how I sobbed watching the TV, knowing that I would never forget the moment. And now, more than anything, I intentionally remember the faces of Iraqi citizens who are stuck in the bureaucrat middle ground of the business of war. I remember my friends who work with Iraqi refugees in Syria. And as I walk past Vietnam Veterans near the state hospital not too far from my home, I think of all our troops who will suffer from the affects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I remember Carlos Mejia and his descent to the war and all the other Contentious Objectors who face the struggle of opposing a culture of war.
I am a 28 years old woman. I drive a car, probably more than I should. I have a job that pays well with good insurance. I am educated. I read the New York Times on a whim. I drink Caramel Latte’s on Saturday’s. I oppose the war on principal and I have a hard time keeping the daily bombings and death tolls straight. Which is probably a purposeful laziness. I call myself a social activist and yet there is so much I have not done.
I am 28 years old….I am living.
I am living with war.
I am not living in war.