The war in Iraq hasn't been a topic of conversation in many American homes for some time now. For most, a crippled economy, declining home values, job security and shrinking retirement savings are the more urgent concerns of the day. There are few reasons to talk about the Iraq conflict except to perhaps wager a guess on which of the two presidential candidates would best resolve the U.S. involvement there. But the deployment of U.S. soldiers, reservists and national guardsmen to Iraq or Afghanistan remains steady, as 50 families gathered this weekend in Glen Burnie know all too well.
They were there to send off fathers and husbands, sons and daughters, wives and girlfriends who are members of the Army Reserve's 1398th Deployment Support Brigade, based in Curtis Bay. This is the second deployment for the unit, which last served in the Middle East in 2005. The soldiers will be gone for a year, training first in Indiana and then heading to missions in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. Their relatives and friends have sent off these part-time soldiers with love and devotion and prayers to help steel them for the uncertainty that lies ahead.
While Barack Obama and John McCain debate the reasons for going to war and who might end it best, soldiers continue to die there and their families bear the ultimate burden for a conflict that has diminished U.S. standing in the world, depleted the country's finances and killed or maimed thousands of young men and women. For Lori Eutsler of Easton and other family members who said goodbye this weekend, there is only one way for this war to end - with the safe return of their loved ones.