Survey response

THE BALTIMORE SUN

PERSIAN GULF WAR IS OUR FINEST HOUR

From: Sandie Boden

Bel Air

My letter is in response to your Jan. 13 survey pertaining to thePersian Gulf crisis. We are a country torn apart by our reasons for being there, our deep concern for our armed forces and the families back home, and most of all, the fear that lies the heaviest in our hearts -- the fear of possibly having to face the grim realities of war.

This unfortunate situation has certainly hit close to home with me and my family.

My brother (whom I love dearly) is in the Navy and has been stationed on a ship in the Persian Gulf since August 26. My husband (whom I dearly love) is in the Air National Guard. Althoughhis unit has not yet been called to duty (thank God), we know that could change at any given moment. We live each day hanging by a threadand do our best to never give up hope.

Anyone who is directly associated with someone in the military already knows that the agonies of war. The day I stood in the airport and said goodbye to my brother was the hardest goodbye I've ever had to say -- wondering if that would be the last time I'd see him smile or the last time that I could ever hug him. I cry for him every day. I pray for him every day, as well as for all of our troops. I miss

him terribly.

If the need should arise that my husband must go, then not only will I have to say goodbye to the father of our two small children but also to my very best friend and half of everything that I am. It, to say the least, would be devastating.

Now with war, I sit here filled with the risk ofhaving so much to lose, my anger is not for the American intervention in the Mideast. I respect the reason why we are there. The men and women in our armed forces are serving a very significant purpose.

Don't even try to convince me that this "worldwide" conflict all comes down to a material objective. I have much more confidence in our government's leadership than to think that they would place more value on a barrel of oil than a human life. Too many people are hiding behind that excuse because it is the easiest way to belittle our motives and therefore make our military presence unjustifiable. I think we all know that the issues and answers are not that simple.

Not one ofus wants to resort to war. Not one of us wants to be faced with the grief and sorrow that comes with it. And absolutely not one of us would ever want to be in the position to have to make that very final decision.

I highly commend the leaders of our government for the manner in which they have handled the situation. I sincerely believe that President Bush and members of the United Nations have done everything to try to reach a peaceful resolution. We have shown great restraint and diplomacy every step of the way. We bowed down to Saddam Hussein so that he could bow out gracefully, but instead he opted for the final curtain call. Now he has left us no alternative.

We are up against a very strong and powerful force. Terrorism may be the greatest enemy we have ever faced. The shame of it all is that in this worldthat is changing so rapidly -- for the better -- we are still falling victim to "Third World" tyrants who have such a strangling grip on all of us with their threats and acts of violence. I abhor their arrogance and the fact that they can stand before the world, and boldly and without blinking an eye, tell us who they will attack next.

I despise their disrespect for human beings and humanity -- they have proven to the world that they do not desire peace. Assault and aggression is a game to them and they have met their greatest challenge of all, the United States of America.

Although other nations stand withus, it is unfortunate that, as we've done so often in our past, the United States will have to make the biggest sacrifice. But at the same time, as our history portrays, we have always paid a very high price for our freedoms -- once again we are in a position to protect and defend them. It is that very passion and courage that burns inside each and every one ofus that has made this country the great nation that it is today.

Sure, it's scary and we are all afraid, but this isan issue we have been been battling for too long. We cannot close our eyes and make this "monster" go away. Something has to be done now.

This may very well be the beginning of a long, hard road ahead --but it may be the beginning of the end for these destructive dictators and their reigns of terror. Let us hope that a lesson was learned through all of this. I hope that now the United Nations passes some sort of law that if a situation such as this, involving acts of aggression, holding of hostages and threats of terrorism, ever surfaces again -- I believe that the single driving force behind the crime shouldbe removed by way of death, in any way, shape or form that is necessary.

Finally, I would like to say that the best way that everyone can help out the situation is not by staging anti-war demonstrations -- no one wants a war. And not by burning the American flag. That hurts those of us directly related to the situation most. It shows so much disrespect toward our men and women who are over in the Mideast and abroad putting their lives on the line for each and every one of us. We do not need to see portraits of families, weeping for loved ones, smeared all over the media. And we certainly do not need to be sent over.

These issues are inevitable with war. They live in our hearts

and our minds every minute of every day. We do not need to have them thrown in your faces. We are all dealing with the anxieties and frustrations and fears within ourselves in our own individual way. It is incredibly, emotionally draining and sometimes the weight is too much to bear. But we do not want your pity. We want your support.

We all have our opinions on the matters at hand, and whether we agree or disagree with the way in which it gets resolved, let us all be able to set aside our own feelings and remember our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters and our mothers and fathers who have been called to duty. They should be our first and foremost priority. They are over there for all of us and they need to know that we are over here for them -- supporting their efforts, thinking of them and most of all, praying for them. They deserve our undying gratitude.

We haveto remember that the best defense is a good defense. The most powerful weapon we could launch is if we all stand united and unyielding against these horrendous brutalities. We must believe in ourselves and our country, just as our troops in the gulf do.

I can honestly say that I have never been more proud of my brother than I am right now. So let us show our appreciation by flying our flags and yellow ribbons so that they know that they are our heroes -- "they are the wind beneath our wings."

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