What You Haven’t Heard

Earlier this week, I made my routine visit to the post office to
send soup, homemade cookies and crossword puzzles to my husband,
Mark, who is currently serving in Iraq.
As I lugged in all of the boxes, an older man turned to me and
said,

You sure have a lot of packages. You must own your own
business.

Earlier this week, I made my routine visit to the post office to send soup, homemade cookies and crossword puzzles to my husband, Mark, who is currently serving in Iraq.

As I lugged in all of the boxes, an older man turned to me and said, “You sure have a lot of packages. You must own your own business.”

“Nope,” I replied. “My husband is stationed in Iraq, and I’m sending him some holiday goodies.”

As I sat there filling out my customs forms, the man said, “It’s a shame he’s over there killing all those people.”

As my eyes welled up with tears thanks to his insensitive comment, a woman behind me in line turned to him and said, “How can you say something like that? Look what he’s sacrificing for his country.”

The man just went on. “Well, it’s the truth. People are dying over there and not coming back,” he said.

Frustrated with the entire situation, I chose to rise above it and avoid any confrontation. I knew it very well could have led to a lengthy debate about why our country is at war and why it was important for my husband to leave his family for eight months and defend this nation.

What made me so mad – and at the same time, so sad – was that although the man’s comment was uncalled for, I couldn’t blame him for his way of thinking. His assumptions about what is going on in Iraq are derived from what appears in the paper and on the evening news. His assumptions also mirror those of many Americans.

Our national media outlets do a fine job of trumpeting casualty counts and photos of angry Arab protesters, but they neglect showing all of the good that our country has achieved in the past few years.

Instead of trying to explain the progress that the U.S. Military’s presence has brought to the Iraqi people, I thought I’d let someone who has firsthand experience do the talking.

Here is an e-mail I received this week from my husband, U.S. Air Force 1st Lieutenant Mark Cuthbert:

Hey C*,

It is so very hard to explain the amazing progress that we have accomplished here. I see such a look of hope on the faces of the Iraqis as they go about their new lives. They work, play, sing, love and hope in ways never before imagined.

We are so close. We are on the verge of victory. We are decisively engaged and we are winning.

Love you,

Mark

For those who don’t agree with U.S. presence in Iraq, I understand. I would much rather have my husband here spending the holidays with our family than in a tent eating a cup of soup and crackers for his Christmas dinner.

But he won’t be here, and neither will several other members of this community who are toughing out the sandstorms and dropping temperatures to defend our nation.

When you see a mother wearing a yellow ribbon to support her son – or, in my case, a family member shipping boxes of goodies – no matter your opinion, share it with your local politician instead of someone whose story you do not know. Because anyone who is close to a member of the military overseas is deployed as well.

Deployed from life as we knew it.

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