A flood of Sadness, a Moment of Joy

I happened to be at our local airport when some of the local National Guard troops returned home from their service in Iraq.

Ours is a small airport where the planes come only a few times a day and you stand in the terminal watching the arriving passengers walk down stairs from the plane onto the tarmac only a few feet from you.

To see these young men and women step off the plane and rush into the arms of their families was a moment I will always cherish. In those embraces I was witness to the best of the unprotected human heart. It was as if all the suppressed fear and loneliness those young people had felt for all their time away had been left behind, and they were once again young American boys and girls who were happily in the embrace of their families.

I loathe this unnecessary war and the tiny man who started it, and not a day goes by when I don’t think of the mothers and babies and elders in Iraq who have died for our adventurism. But none of that cuts a whit into the feeling of joy and respect that I experienced seeing these young men and women return to the arms of their families.

I only wish we were welcoming them home from service in our forgotten city, New Orleans, which has been ignored by our government for two years to the day today, instead of from Iraq, where we are spending three billion dollars a week — yes, $3,000,000,000 a week — to serve some nefarious and ill defined purpose of a government run amok.

May we at some point in the future become the country we all know we can be, and reach out to help our fallen brothers and sisters rather than sending the best of our young people to advance the causes of men and women who see profit, not kindness and service, as the highest purpose of the American nation.

8 thoughts on “A flood of Sadness, a Moment of Joy”

  1. Hi Kent,
    It must have been a beautiful moment. I am always touched when I see families reunited on the news. It is so sad to hear of how many families have lost their mom/dad in the war and now their children are without a parent. Today I just heard that a family in California lost 2 sons to the war!! Could you imagine not just losing one, but two!!

    As for New Orleans, the government was so cheap they housed everyone in toxic trailers!! I’ve read that many of the families are sick from the trailers our government supplied!!

    Good comments as always!!

    I’m currently reading Chief Joseph and Neither Wolf Nor Dog and they are really life-changing books, excellently written and they build a bridge to us that have “forgotten” the Native American people or were grossly misinformed about them.

  2. Scott E. Wilson


    I have read Neither Wolf Nor Dog, Chief Joseph, and Wisdom of Native Americans. I list these titles to let you know that I am not just some crack pot emailer without some slight understanding of your stance.

    I can’t help but ask were you aware of the type of government that Sadam Hussain ran. I for one believe the world is a better place without his like. I would also point out that most of the killing going on over there is Moslem killing Moslem. Being a Viet Nam vet I had no interest in going there. Given the level of insanity with which the Moslems are willing to treat them selves I would have left them to their own devises. Unfortunately, we are there and if you take a look at the history of our involvement in world affairs where military intervention has taken place, everything post WWII has been left incomplete. Where or where should we go in to finish something we start. Just in passing are you aware as to how long the War of American Independance lasted? In recent history we allowed an inept UN to allow mass murder in Rawanda and Bosnia and we waited for public opinion to finally get us involved in Bosnia, which was a sideshow when compared to Rawanda.

    I guess my question is who should stop the bad people in the world and how bad do they have to be before someone takes action? May I take the liberty to recommend a book to you, Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures. Please don’t let the title put you off. It gives some first hand understanding as to the ineptitude of the UN.

    Thabk you,

    Scott E. Wilson

    PS: Please excuse my poor spelling

  3. I am going to leave the political rhetoric aside. I have such mixed emotions about what you have written that anything that I say in this condition becomes verbal diarrhea. I will say this though. I feel quite sorry for those Katrina survivors but I am old enough to know that you cannot count on the government to come through and help without a parade, balloons and a hardy “look at me.” It is quite time that people stand up and help themselves. I know that it hurts but you have to stand up, take your wife in one hand, your children in the other and make something happen!

  4. Kent,

    It was nice you could be at the airport to welcome home the “young American boys and girls who were happily in the embrace of their families.” The troops, spending 22 months on active duty in training or in Iraq, were with Bemidji-based Able Company, part of the Minnesota Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 136th Combined Arms Battalion, 34th Infantry Division, a division known as Red Bull.

    While the average age of the Army soldier on the ground in Iraq is 26, Army National Guard troops are generally men and women who have previous served full-time in the regular Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines. They have, for the most part, re-enlisted in “The Guard” and understandably are on average older. Their average age is 32 – hardly “boys and girls.” They are mechanics, doctors, cab drivers, engineers, teachers and lawyers. They have a common believe that the service they freely give is as important to them as it is the rest of us. They do not see the work they are doing in Iraq as “unnecessary” or an “adventure” and they do not see their Commander In Chief as a “tiny man.”

    Did you take the time to actually talk to any of these “boys and girls” at the airport and ask them of their experiences in Iraq? Did you ask what if any good they thought we were doing in Iraq or how the people they met felt about our being there? Did you go to the Bemidji State Memorial Hall for the homecoming celebration in honor of these brave men and women and listen to them speak? I shouldn’t think you did; you simply went home and penned out the above predictable rant about things you know nothing about. Amusing to some I’m sure, but quite sad really. There’s only one sad little tiny man in the center of your post and it ain’t George W. Bush.


  5. Well said Kent. I have hope for a better future for the seven generations to come. It is amazing how much we as a country can spend in other countries, but to help the people here in our own backyard….seems they do not matter. It has never made much sence to me

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. You have made me stop and think more often than not with your words.

  6. You capture what I believe to be a compassionate viewpoint. You do what some politicians claim to do: hate the war but love the soldiers. I agree with your thoughts and enjoy your blog.

  7. American Lit. 2nd Per.

    In response to Anita’s comment,
    We would greatly appreciate it if you would clarify what you mean by “the seven generations to come.” Thank you.

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