The Face of the Enemy, The Face
of my Friend
Last night was, at the very least, one of the most
amazing nights of my life.
Last night on "60 Minutes ll" on CBS,
there was a segment called, "Facing the Enemy".
I knew that recently CBS had been accompanying some
of our Florida National Guard who are serving in Iraq as they taped this
segment and I also knew there was a slim possibility that I might get to
see, within the program, my friend who has been away and serving in
Iraq since January.
I made a very special effort to bring my day to a
close before the show came on at 8pm est.
With everything done, we settled in to watch as the
program began. That's when the amazement began. You see, as
the program opened, the first voice I actually heard was the voice
of my friend. Yes, it was his voice coming from my television, it
was a voice I would know anywhere but the surreal experience of hearing
that voice coming over the tv airwaves and from across the world was
incomprehensible. I, maybe like an idiot, yelled his name.
Then there was his face, oh my god, there was his face. He looked
so tired, he looked sweaty and dirty and worst of all his face was
gaunt and drawn. But it was his face, there he was.
I'll never ever forget how he looked before he
left home and I'll never ever forget how he looked last night. The
night in January when he told me he was going to Ft. Stewart and later
to Iraq, we were standing outside under a bright and starry
sky. But the message he shared with me that night clouded out
the stars and even the moon. That was such an awful, awful
Last night, during that show, I learned something
that I had not been aware of, my friend, who I will mention again
is now over 50 yrs old, is in the devils triangle of
Iraq. His group is one of the groups that are the
dreaded Avon men who go door to door, just dinging and not donging
before they bash in doors and crash into homes and try to
find the bombs and the bombers. There may be a more dangerous way
to serve in Iraq but I don't know what it is. Remember, these are
our National Guardsmen, not professional fulltime, highly combat
trained soldiers. They are professional, part-time, highly trained
National Guardsmen. To me, there is a big difference.
But there he was, my friend, bless his heart,
serving his country at the whim of george bush and his neocon,
chicken-hawk, money craving, world dominance seeking, freakin
pals. There was my friend so very far from home, such a sweet,
private, gentle man in such a hell hole of the world doing what he
promised his country he would do. At the time that he made that
promise, he never would have imagined that he would play a
part in a war like this one. He would never have imagined
that an American President would declare a preemptive war based on
lies and deception, He would never have imagined that he would ever
become a part of this kind of American history. He seems to
be a pawn in an awful bloody game. He's a target, he's an enemy to
the Iraqi people and he's a tool for bush to use to claim US
superiority. My friend deserves better than that, he truly
I guess I don't have to tell you that there was a
lot of crying here last night. I tried to go to sleep after the
show was over and maybe I did but it was pretty uneasy sleep. I
just kept hearing the echo of his voice and seeing that determined yet
worn face. I thought about so many things and my mind was so busy
sorting through emotions that there was no time for deep sleep.
About 3am, it dawned on me what was agitating my thoughts. You
see, each time I hear of a soldier being killed in Iraq it causes a deep
chill to run through me, because of course I wonder, could it be
him? Then I tell myself, with so many of our troops over there the
odds of it being him are pretty slim and that always helps. Well,
those odds were the same when CBS decided to film some of the American
soldiers over there.............and yet there he was.
Maybe I'm more afraid for him now than I ever have
been before. No there's no maybe to it, I really am.
Things all seem so weird this morning as I write
this. I feel like something has changed. His deployment in
Iraq went from a mental concept to a real event. That's not
the best explanation I suppose, but what I'm trying to tell you
is that now I know he really is over there, he really is
in danger, and I really am afraid for him. I'm asking
myself why was it that I could comfort myself with the odds when fearing
something awful might happen to him and yet feel fortunate
with those same odds when I got to see him last
night? If he could be one in over two hundred thousand last night,
what's going to keep him from being that same one in two hundred
thousand when the next deadly attack comes?
My friend has always been in danger in Iraq, but
now I have seen him in a dangerous place.
I guess the best way to sum up this experience
would be to tell you that I got a damned hard slap of
reality last night, it hurt like hell and I wonder how long the
f***ing sting is going to last. How long will this war last and
how long can my friend last?
Yes indeed it was an amazing night, an amazing
personal experience, because while watching "Facing the
Enemy", I saw the face of my friend.
I am a mom to Murphy (my precious pup) and Fred
(my occasionally precious cat).
I share my life, my laughter, my world and
all of my love with my husband and have for 16 years.
I would describe myself as a very sentimental and
sensitive person who is forever willing to share my point of view
whether or not it has been requested of me. This
article is copyright by Patricia Ernest, originally published by
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