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Next of Kin: Dona Nobis Pacem
Julie's Hump Day Hmmm for this week is participation in the Blog Blast for Peace. Until this evening, I honestly had no idea what I would write, aside from the obvious, "End the war in Iraq."

Then, I got some mail.

It was a postcard addressed to "All Family Members of Company G" from the Family Support Group in Medina, Ohio. This is my brother's National Guard Reserve Unit that's being mobilized soon. We had some good news recently. His unit won't be mobilized for training at Ft. Hood, Texas until after the first of the year. My brother had expected to be in Ft. Hood over Christmas, with a few days off for the actual holiday break. Everything has been pushed back a few months, but the end result is the same. They'll be in the Middle East next year.

The postcard itself was innocuous. It was about a holiday party for the reserve unit and their families. No, what stopped me in my tracks was what this post card meant. I've never received anything like this with regards to my brother before. But tonight, holding that piece of cardboard, my heart skipped a beat and my stomach did a slow flip. I came to a sickening realization.

I am my brother's next of kin.

If something happens to B., mine is the number they'll call. A car will pull up in front of my house, an officer in Army green will step out and walk up my driveway and ring my doorbell. My world is the one that will tip on its axis first.

I will have to call B's girlfriend, his aunts and uncles. His grandparents.

Our parents.

It's easy to talk about war and peace in the abstract. It's easy to debate whether military action is necessary, or "right," or just. It's easy to talk about troop movements and IED's and snipers. It's easy to declare that fighting terrorism, or championing democracy, or even stopping the war is the most important issue facing our generation.

It's much harder to talk about real solutions. It's much harder to look at the photos of soldiers killed in Iraq. It's much harder to think about their wives, husbands, parents, and children. It's much harder to look at your own family photos and picture someone missing.

I don't want one more doorbell rung, one more family crushed, one more photo framed in remembrance. Peace is really the only option. The bigger question is - how do we get there?

Cross posted, with changes, at MOMocrats.

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Blogger slouching mom said...

yes. you are so right.

Blogger flutter said...

I don't even know what to say.

Anonymous Mishel said...

Wow. When you find the answer to that question let me know. I have a brother getting ready to go to Iraq in about 21 days and another home after his 3rd or 4th tour out there w/PTSD and numerous other things wrong w/him. I know this is the cowards way out but when my brother is out there I refuse to watch the news. I'm afraid to watch the news in the event my brother's name or his unit's name pops up.

Blogger Alpha DogMa said...

Getting to peace is one thing. Getting to a 'lasting peace' with a final resolution of issues that do not flair up in another 10 years - so much more complicated but so vital.

I'm sending happy thoughts and agnostic prayers your way.

Anonymous rivergirlie said...

please let the world come to its senses over this. thinking of you and yours x

Blogger Julie Pippert said...

S, from your lips to the appropriate ears. (HUGS)

This was very moving to me. Maybe because of my own brother.

Hey I can't add in your link to Mr. Linky on Mimi's blog. It will only let me do one link. I've let her know but if you have a sec, go add this post over there.

Using My Words

Blogger Lawyer Mama said...
Blogger exskindiver said...

and it is a good question.
'next of kin' sounds so distant when the fact that you would get that call means it isn't.

Blogger Gunfighter said...

It's as easy as saying "Stop".

Saying stop will take a leader of courage, and the only one that will do it is a man who has no chance in hell of getting elected to the Presidency, although I would vote for hime in a minute.

Than man is Dennis Kucinich.

Blogger QT said...

It makes it all too real. I hate to say it, but I think if there was a draft, there would be a lot more of an uprising. As it is, Bush/Cheney have avoided that by deploying units 3 and 4 times.

It is a crime. You are in my thoughts.

Blogger Hahn at Home said...

As the number of us who are touched by the war increases, it makes me very glad that this movement, spanning all types and political philosphies, is taking hold. Peace!~

Blogger Nancy said...

There has been war since the beginning of time ... the useless BS politically driven powers that be ... sacrifice our loved ones.

I wish no one would ever have to answer that doorbell.

Blogger ExPatSW said...

I'm speechless [big gulp].

Blogger CountryDew said...

Wonderful post. I pray you never receive that terrible phone call. Peace be with you.

Blogger Gwen said...

You got me choked up, LM. Really really good wishes to your brother.

What gets me every time is the thought that the countries we are warring against are suffering so much more than we are. All the innocents, everywhere. It hurts.

Blogger Travis said...

Yes, we do need solutions and we must tell our leaders we want solutions other than war.

Peace to you and yours on this wonderful Peace Globe Day and always.

Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

Well that just hit me in the gut. No one should have that responsibility.

Blogger Bond said...

Maybe if we keep doing what we are doing today, we can get there...

Searching For A Peaceful World on


Blogger SabrinaT said...

My prayers are with you and your brother.

Blogger Christine said...

this made me so so sad.

Blogger KC said...

It's amazing to me too that our military are all volunteers. My husband's active duty military - I totally know what you mean.

I pray you never get that doorbell ring.....my friend!

I am always amazed at how dedicated the few are....how willing to sacrifice for the good of the country!

Blogger Sarcasta-Mom said...

We vote, and we pray, and we protest, and most of all, we write what we feel and touch others, hoping that they'll care, that they'll be moved to do something.

Best of luck to your brother. I'm sure he will come home safely.

Blogger Jenn said...

The road begins at the ballot box.

Anonymous Momish said...

I have no words. No one should have to feel the way you do or write what you just wrote.

Blogger Mad Hatter said...

Look at him! So beautiful and full of joy. He looks like what peace should look like.

My friend has a son poised to go to Afghanistan. I can't imagine the weight she carries around with her daily.

Blogger Mimi Lenox said...

Overwhelmed with emotion by this post. This has to end. This war has to end.

Blogger Patti said...

I'm visiting from Mimi's. I wish you and your family peace.
It may be a few days after the official BlogBlast for Peace day, but the sentiment is the same.

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