I have a number of friends and family in the service. I worry about Canada’s increasing role in international conflict – Afghanistan, mostly. Canada is fighting a dirty, horrific war there, and more Canadians are dying all the time.
This is sad. We were peacekeepers once. Now we make peace with guns. With war. Like screwing for virginity, as the old hippie saying goes.
I think often of my one friend in the Navy, who’s done a couple tours in the Gulf. He came back a changed and deeply moved man, slightly hollowed out inside. He told me about some of the things he saw there. I couldn’t have done what he did.
There’s a cousin, my closest cousin, and his wife. I grew up with this cousin like a brother. They’re both Air Force, but who knows where they’ll be, given the scramble to fill Canadian uniforms over there. It’s frightening to think of either of them being shot at, or shot.
There’s another friend in the Army, once my best friend. I don’t know where he is right now. After a bad breakup with a long-term girlfriend, he finally dropped out of the shadow of a life he was living and joined the Army.
I haven’t heard from him very much since then, though he sends the occasional email. He lets me know he’s alive, but implicit between the lines is the statement that he’s not ready to resume any part of his old life yet. Hopefully he comes home and gets the chance.
I miss all of them, these friends in the service. It bothers me, when I see the furor between those who want them to come home and those who support them. It bothers me because the two are not exclusive. I support them, one and all, with every ounce of my being. And with every ounce of my being I want them to come home and be safe.