January 21, 2009

Why Iraq?

[Disclaimer: I am not looking to start a political debate. I just wanted to vent. Questions and comments are welcome…if kept respectful.]
"I volunteered to go to Iraq as a First Sergeant and I have been selected. How do you feel about that?"
I knew the reasons why she went; she didn't have to say anything to me about that. No one in the family asked why. No one acted selfish about the fact she was leaving for such a long period of time--even though we all knew we'd miss her terribly. We just supported her. Not because we are all republicans or democrats, pro or anti-war, rich or poor. Just because we know her and her good heart. We know her soul's need to be a part of something bigger than her body. We are familiar with her selflessness and innate humanitarian qualities. Since she left, though, A LOT of acquaintances and peers have asked me the same question…"Why would she voluntarily go to Iraq?" Other comments (to be fair, they are out of context) include "That's not a place for a lady." "I don't think I could be part of something I don't support." "I couldn't fight in a war I don't believe in."

I wasn't offended by these questions or comments, per se, but rather confused about the insensitivity and bewilderment on the topic. Yes…we have been at war for longer than expected. And yes…maybe rebuilding things in Iraq is taking a while. But our troops still need support. On 9/11 the nation united because they were sad and angry about the terrorist attacks. Iraq is still harboring terrorists. Now, just a few short years later, I see more segregation and hate (in the U.S.) than ever before. It's okay if you don't believe in war, and it's okay if you think we should get the hell out of there…but thank God that we have people willing to do the inevitable jobs involved with the war. Don't pick on them, their beliefs, and their families. People like my mother still need to know that their duties are not going unrecognized and are not in vain.

My mom's job description in the Air Force as First Sergeant includes a lot of complicated tasks. She's not on the front lines, but she is physically and mentally prepared to go there if need-be. Her job entails supporting the soldiers (of all branches) in their daily duties. She sort of serves as her own Human Resources department for AF Reserve. She is an expert communicator and uses that skill to help her in her job. If one of her men gets hurt, she meets him at the hospital and consoles the family. If someone needs their orders cut for a family emergency, she helps get the job done. She's a strong lady--the strongest I have ever known--and anything good in me is because she raised me.

Yesterday during Obama's inauguration speech, he spoke about the troops. So in response to any of those questions above, I suppose this sums it up:
"As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all. "


Isabellas Dad Is SO awesome you don't even know said...

I think what your mom is doing is extremely noble and her volunteering to go to Iraq is who she is. She never seems content just doing what is required then calling it a day like most people. Going above and beyond is what makes her happy and ultimately she will be glad she was able to do her part, and feel that she had done not what she needed to do, but what she felt she should do.

When people ask 'why?' they don't understand, and that is fine. Not everyone has to understand 'why', and not everyone has to take the same points of view.

When I see someone sitting on a couch all day eating ice cream, smoking cigarettes and watching TV, I ask 'why? Why in the hell would you want to do that to yourself? Its going to kill you!' maybe I don't understand.

Ultimately it comes down to people doing what they need to do to be happy within themselves.

Crystal Bo Bistol said...

You're right. I don't know why I care so much about the "why." Protective--I guess.
P.S. Mmmmm ice cream and cigs.

Who is Piper Pix? said...

I love your mom. she really is the most selfless person I know. I hope she is doing ok over there. keep me updated :)
I cant imagine how hard that would be to have to talk to the soldiers family. she is a much stronger person than I.
One day I hope I can get myself out there in the world to help a good cause.
Thank you crystal for this post it makes me want to be a better person, and try a little harder.

Melissa McAllister said...

Amen Winter Amen! I will include her in my prayers! What a great women! When will she return?

Crystal Bo Bistol said...

You guys are sweet. She loves both of you like her own. She should be getting back in 6-ish months. That's too long.

Amy said...

Hey Crystal- I saw your comment on Christy's blog and thought I'd say hi!

Your mom is one brave woman, good for her. And that Obama quote is pretty powerful!

Hope you're doing well!
-Amy (pasqua) Martinez

Crystal Bo Bistol said...

Amy: How are you?! Thank you so much for your support and kind words. I am doing well (despite what you may have gathered from the tone of this blog!). I hope all is well with you! Email me if you want a more private conversation. xo


Jessica and Kenny said...

WOW... You mother is an amazing woman. I look up to everyone that has ever served time in Iraq. Love ya and I will keep your mom in my prayers.