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Photograph provides food for thought on war, and the love between a father and son
Sgt. Calvin Summerville embraces his son Jeffrey, 12, before getting on a charter bus that will take him to
MIKE MORONES/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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By Richard Amrhine
Since he's not on the "front lines," his friend thinks his dad might not be as vulnerable as some other soldiers. Sounds pretty dangerous to me.
I got the impression from my son that his friend is hugely proud of his dad, because it's his dad's duty to help limit the dangers his fellow soldiers face.
So now my son has turned the tables, and given me more to think about. While it might have been hard for that dad in the photograph to say goodbye, his emotions might have been mitigated by his sense of duty, the belief that he was leaving not just to serve his country, but to rejoin his outfit, get back to his job doing his part for the war effort.
Whether the war is popular is not his concern. He simply has a job to do.
For the son, his dad's absence is probably tempered by the pride he takes in his dad and the job he is doing.
The fact that his dad is willing to sacrifice this time with his family, and maybe even his life, makes him a hero in his son's eyes no matter what the future brings. The son will be the man of the family for a while, at least--a life lesson in responsibility if there ever was one. Hopefully their relationship is such that it will strengthen despite their time and distance apart.
The fact that I've been against the war from the beginning in no way diminishes my support for the troops serving in Iraq. The initial feelings of many that President Bush was taking us into the war based on faulty intelligence and a personal hatred for Saddam Hussein have been verified over the past three years.
I'm not sure what would be worse--that Bush manipulated information to make his case to the American people, or that he was too stupid or gung-ho to seek out the truth before taking action. I fear it could be a combination of the two. Obviously he declared victory a tad too soon.
The rapid erosion of Americans' support for the war is unprecedented, and mirrors the collapse of the president's popularity over the past two years.