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I have questions:

By       Message Mary Lou Byrd     Permalink
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I have questions:

I am old, but I remember the long-ago Sunday afternoon when our staticky, battery-operated old Crosley brought us the news of Pearl Harbor. And I remember the shock of 9/11/01. Both were tragedies of staggering proportions, and I want to take nothing from the day-long memorial for the victims. In reliving these events, the pain was acute for all of us, including President Bush and his wife.

But if this famous couple could fly to Pennsylvania, lay a wreath, and talk personally with the grieving family members who had lost relatives in the hijacked plane five years ago, why draw the line at the 9/11 disaster? There are many others suffering the loss of loved ones --mothers, fathers, wives, and children of service men and women killed and wounded in Iraq. All are badly in need of the support a caring President could extend. So why is it that he can't meet with a Cindy Sheehan, look her in the eyes, express his grief, and try to explain his reasons for sending her first-born son to die in Iraq?

When (if ever) will it be time to hold a memorial service for the 2,700 men and women who have died in Iraq? Five months, five years, twenty? Or are we simply waiting for the numbers of dead to match those of 9/11? (At the rate we are going, that possibility is not too far ahead.) I think that time is NOW.

When will we see a parade of 2,700 flag-draped coffins down Pennsylvania Avenue, with a fleet of paraplegics in wheelchairs following behind? We have been saturated with graphic images-- last words, falling bodies, and the screams of those who died horrible deaths on 9/11. Yet it seems that our sons and daughters serving and dying in Iraq are statistics, tallied day by day in increasing numbers. Their last words are not heard, the sacrifices they made unremarked (except for a Purple Heart or a medal for bravery), and a death notice recorded only in the hometown newspapers.

Could it be that there is no political capital in honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq, other than in a speech from the White House lawn? We have seen the grief, felt the panic, the terror, the nightmare of 9/11. And I fully understand why we are not seeing the tragedy of Iraq. Just imagine the fallout -- a memorial honoring those 2,700 who have given their lives in Iraq -- just before the fall elections. Unthinkable!


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Former editor of the Plains Georgia Monitor during Carter's presidency: former columnist for the Jessamine Journal, Nicholasville, Ky. WAC veteran; lost a beloved brother in World War II. Supports anti-war efforts to end the killing in Iraq.

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