“For my stepson,Wesley” she said, this was the answer that met me after I asked her about the yellow ribbon on her jacket. It was pinned down by a button of the American flag. He was her step-son, 23 and cannot walk. The ribbon represented hope; she crossed her fingers as she said that he would walk again. He was the worse of the six who survived after his humvee was bombed in Iraq.
I entered the lives of Wesley’s parents, only for a moment: they were a working class family. The dad was outside on the phone while Wesley’s step-mom and I talked. He soon entered the doors of our local ice-cream shop, I could see Wesley’s face on a big button on his dad’s flannel shirt as he came closer. She said that they were flying him to Seattle to see a spine specialist.
This is just one of the many stories that accompany the lives of people affected by this war. I currently live in Silver Spring, MD and I often see young soldiers with disfigured faces and amputated legs sitting out in the downtown area, at the local Starbucks or Ben & Jerry’s with their partners, parents and/or friends. The visual effects of a war leaves me torn– not supporting the act but supporting the men and women who are and were placed in harms way. I also think of the people in Iraq, the ones who are probably so used to hearing the bombs go off that they no longer flinch at the sound. The Iraqi children, especially the ones 5 years old and younger who only know of this reality.
These are my thoughts on the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq…