The operation to liberate Iraq rages on and American soldiers are being killed. Their untimely and heroic deaths bring back a flood of memories of my childhood.
I can still remember seeing the Department of the Army vehicle in my driveway that December day in 1970. I don't know how, but I knew in my heart that my father was dead.
My fears were confirmed as I entered my home to hear my mother's trembling voice tell me what I already sensed. I still remember viewing my father in his flag-draped coffin, and feeling like I could see him breathing.
I remember how my whole body jumped at each shot of the 21-gun salute. I will never be able to forget the uncontrollable, wailing cries of my grandmother as my father's casket was lowered into the grave. To this day, I still get teary eyed when I hear "Taps" being played.
You might think that because I have been touched by the horrors of war that I would be against the current actions in Iraq. You couldn't be more wrong!
I understand that the freedoms we have in this country aren't free. Our freedoms have been purchased with the blood of soldiers like my father, and maintained by the sacrifices made by soldiers currently serving our country so heroically.
Unfortunately, other children are going to have memories like mine. In time, I hope that their feeling of loss will be replaced with a deep sense of pride. Pride in knowing that their family member gave the ultimate sacrifice so that the Iraqi people can be rid of the evil that is Saddam Hussein and enjoy some of the freedoms that we take for granted.
Tommy John, Martinez, Ga.
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