Student Copes with Father Deployed in Iraq


As I help my mother cook dinner for the evening, the news running in the background catches my ear. The reporter covers another story on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. My mother and I listen with intent and hope that my father fairs well. My father currently serves overseas in Iraq for his third tour of duty, bombarded with bullets and hate every day. Some people do not want the army there and neither do I.
In the days after Sept. 11, 2001, my mother was on the phone constantly with my father, worrying whether or not he would be deployed overseas. Two years later in 2003, when the Untied States declared war on Iraq and troops were deployed into action, my father was one of them.
When he came back after his first tour of duty, my grandparents threw a party for him. It was the first time I had seen him in months. I ran to him and cried my eyes out. I have never cried in front of other people but in that moment I did not care. My father was home, and he was safe.
As the night went on, he told stories of people living in Iraq and what they were going through. He went on to tell us what he witnessed and spoke of other soldiers that did not make it. After hearing all he had to say, I did not see the point of the war. This war has caused families to lose loved ones. It leaves holes in families. I cannot imagine how it would feel to lose someone that close to you.
This war physically and psychologically affects people. When my father came back, he had a different sense about him. He looked worn out and sad. He was not the same person who I said goodbye to months before.
A few years passed and my father was transferred to another base. With a transfer comes a new mission, and he was deployed again for his second tour. I pleaded for him to come back safe. Months passed without a single word written or spoken from him. I did not know if he was alive and hated the feeling of the news reporting on another bombing or troops killed. I finally got an e-mail from him saying that he was coming back on a three week break during Christmas.
Visiting him was the thing I needed. I did not have to worry. When I was with him he told me that when he came back after the break he would not re-enlist again, but I guess that did not happen but hopefully it will be his last.
I really do not have as much openness with my father as I wish I did. Sometimes I feel lonely when I cannot call him whenever I want. I cannot ask him any questions I have. For the last eight years his job has prevented me from having him inmy life, but I understand why. He protects not only my life, but the lives of millions of others as well. That is a lot of pressure to have on one’s shoulders.