I still remember when I first found out what was happening. We didn't have TV so I didn't sit glued to the screen like so many did. I don't remember exactly what I was doing when Carey called me to ask if I knew what was going on and told me to turn on the radio. I listened for several minutes in horrific silence before curling up in a ball in the corner and crying for who knows how long. My first thought was for everyone lost in a senseless tragedy and then I wondered what would happen to the rest of us. Were we going to war? Would our country be torn apart? At that time, I was pregnant with our first child although I did not as yet know. It's amazing that so much time has passed; the world has turned several times and while we have not forgotten, we have certainly gotten on with our lives. The little one that was nestled beneath my heart when this happened is five now and currently on the trip of his young life. I look at him every day (all of my children, really) and thank the powers that be that he was safe and sound and that I was blessed with life instead of the death that so many people faced in the tragedy. I also feel blessed that I was gifted with a beautiful daughter on the eve of my activation and leaving for my training in Fort Bliss before going on to Iraq. The whole war is senseless and I pray every day that no more families will have to face the loss of their loved ones. On that note, I discovered quite by accident The Walk of the Fallen and I just cried.
It is a labyrinth, built in Washington State and dedicated to the Fallen and their families by a woman who not so much wanted to forget as she wanted the inner peace that building the labyrinth brought. This is where the names of the fallen are recorded; thousands of them, in fact. On the opening day of the labyrinth in 2003, 400 luminaries were lit, one for each dead service member at that time. Now there are 4,700 dead, and their names are kept in a book. As I read her intro I was amazed how closely her thoughts mirror my own:
"In May of that 2003, my mind was a storm: the war we’d just entered was ostensibly “won, ” yet every cell of my body questioned what that term actually meant. Philosophically, as an American, I was concerned when I heard the language of freedom used in relation to so much death. Historically, as former member of the Armed Forces, I saw reruns of past attempts to graft our unique brand of democracy onto other cultures without a full understanding of, and respect for, those very cultures we were striving to help. Spiritually, as a Pagan, I felt a sense of grief and anger, which often eroded my volatile, yet reasoned responses to the events unfolding before America’s eyes."
I too was upset about the killing of so many innocents in the name of freedom and the absolute fury that we as a country dared to call those people fighting for their own countries freedom "insurgents". We have no right to be there, to tell them how to set up their country. We're too proud for our own good and would certainly have been angered if we'd received this "help" when we ourselves were in the same position not too long ago in the grand scheme of things.