Too Costly

A lot has changed in the past six years. As the nation marked the sixth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks I reflected on that day in 2001. Not just the clear blue sky, or the first moments of hearing the confused news on the radio, or the visuals from TV, but my naïve view of the world in which we lived.

I knew in my head that terrorists could strike, but now I know it in my heart. I knew in my head that the world’s religions are essential to our world community, but now I know in my heart the importance of interfaith dialogue. I knew in my head the need to build bridges that insure peace, but now I know in my heart how close we are to war.

The Iraq war came closer to home this summer when one warm afternoon my doorbell rang and it was some neighbors asking if they could tie yellow ribbons around the trees in our front yard. I quickly agreed as they explained it was in honor of Corporal Christopher Scherer, a 21-year-old East Northport man who had been killed in Iraq the previous week. His funeral was to be held at the Centerport Methodist Church and the procession would pass our home. I didn’t know Chris, but I knew his grandfather Harry Burr who was an important part of the Centerport Fire Department until his death last year.

In 2001 I thought I knew that our country would seek justice for those responsible for the attacks of September 11. This seemed to be the course we were on. Unfortunately, the terrorists’ attacks have become justification for a war that it seems will never end. Whatever the rationalization was for going into Iraq, now is the time to refocus on actions that will truly keep us safer. I don’t know about you, but the continuing Iraq war only makes me feel less secure.

It is still easy to feel that the real problems of the world are a long way away, but they are as close as your neighbor. This past Monday Nancy Bartow called to tell me that her son Clinton is being called back to active duty in the Marines. Clint has already served two tours in Iraq and is being recalled from inactive duty to most likely return there. After leaving active duty Clint has been pursuing new goals for his life, college, a career, and a wedding scheduled for next summer. This will now be put on hold while he honors his commitment to the Marines. I admire his sense of duty, while expressing my own anger my sense of these excessive demands.

The costs of this war are just too great for any potential good that may come of it. I feel terrible for the mess of the Iraqi people, but I don’t see how our continued presence is going to make things any better.

I have known in my head that we all need to make our voices heard, but now I feel in my heart the need to speak up. We will be making available in church a petition by our United Church of Christ called “100,000 for Peace.” The Rev. John Thomas, UCC President, is hoping to carry 100,000 names with him when he goes to lobby for peace in Washington on urging the end of the war in Iraq. You may view the statement and sign the petition at http://www.ucc.org/100kforpeace/ and we also have paper petitions at the church.

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