The Tragedy After War

December 2, 2010
By mckinley BRONZE, McDonough, Georgia
mckinley BRONZE, McDonough, Georgia
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

The news of war breaks. Operation Iraqi Freedom begins. America watches as soldiers’ names are called, bags are packed, and hearts become broken. Who would have thought my Daddy’s name would be called, his bags would be packed, and my heart would now be broken? Not me. The thought never crossed my mind, until one summer day when the words, “I am being deployed to Iraq,” ran off my father’s tongue. My heart sank, my stomach turned, and tears poured down my face, almost instantaneously.
I thought the worst must be over; nothing else could break me down. Until I was informed that he would be gone for an entire year. Once again, my heart sank, my stomach turned, and tears poured down my face, even worse this time. Days went by, his uniform was pressed and the bags were packed. Our house was filled with fear, anxiousness, and sorrow as we knew Daddy would be leaving soon. The terrible feeling that occupied our household was the horror that our beloved soldier would not walk back in the front door of our house, never again call me baby girl, or just be able to say, “I love you.” As the dreaded day arrived, words could not express the desire I had for time to stop in its tracks. I knew my Daddy would board a plane with hundreds of other courageous soldiers and nothing in my power could stop it. Knowing this, when it was time for our goodbyes, I held my father tight, kissed him, looked him in the eyes and told him, “I love you Daddy. Be safe.” After he said the rest of his goodbyes to my family, he turned away, walked out the front door, and never looked back.
Being the child of a soldier does not only consist of separation anxiety, fear of that soldier’s death, or loneliness, it involves being a witness of seeing that soldier change, emotionally, mentally, and physically. The few times Daddy was able to call us from Iraq, or wherever he was, he was never allowed to let us know what he was doing, where he was located, and he had to be extremely careful about what he said to us back home. It was difficult to know that there were secrets my father knew and was never, and still is not allowed to tell. I could only imagine the toll this must have taken on my Daddy, not even being able to tell my mother, his wife of 22 years, what he was doing, where he was, or even how he was feeling. Keeping these emotions, worries, and secrets bottled up didn’t do anything but harm my father mentally.
When Daddy returned home, I noticed something different about him, something that scared me. He was not the same. He didn’t smile as often and he became more emotional about the little things. It was like he was traumatized. But seriously, who wouldn’t be after spending an entire year in a foreign country, away from your family, and being involved in military combat? He became filled with tension, he was easy to anger, and he began to remain silent. Unfortunately, my father’s attitude change did not disappear like I had hoped. It remained. Nothing is the same anymore. The love within our family is still there; it is just expressed differently, and will never be the equivalent to how it was prior to his deployment.

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