What must parents feel when sending their child off to
war? I can't imagine the intense, conflicting emotions that
must pass through their minds.
Here is this child,
this precious treasure that they have nurtured and cared for
since infancy. An integral part of their lives, this very
unique person they have guided, guarded and loved for so
many years, is now moving on to what might be a grisly end
or perhaps grave injury.
Maybe letters, calls, videos
– all communication – will suddenly cease, and they will
never see or hear from this beloved child ever again.
They're left to wonder what became of their child for the
rest of their lives. What a cheery thought to contemplate at
And yet, they must feel some measure of
pride along with the fear and trepidation. This child
standing before them is about to begin a reversal of roles
of sorts – now, they are poised to become the protector, the
barrier against harm to home and country. So the parents
cloak their fear and project their pride.
Even if the
child returns apparently whole and healthy in body, what
maladies may linger inside, incubating and eating away
undetected? What demons may have slipped into the psyche, to
turn innermost thoughts into living hell?
he – or she – will be among those who weather this ultimate
of life-altering experiences relatively unscathed and return
to pick up their lives where they left off. God willing,
they will have a new maturity and insight that will stand
them in good stead through the years to come.
others have passed through the flames to come out the other
side whole and intact in mind and body. I would imagine that
each parent is fervently praying that their child will be
counted among that number.
Finally, and not to be
forgotten, what of the children who have to watch their
parents go off to war? What terrible images and unspoken
fears, fueled by movies and TV, must come to live in their
young and fertile imaginations? One can only wonder.
By Thurman P. Woodfork
See Woodfork's poem,
Parent and Child|
Thurman P. Woodfork (Woody) spent his
Air Force career as a radar repairman in places as disparate as
Biloxi, Mississippi; Cut Bank, Montana; Tin City, Alaska; Rosas,
Spain and Tay Ninh, Vietnam. In Vietnam, he was assigned to
Detachment 7 of the 619th Tactical Control Squadron, a Forward Air
Command Post located on Trai Trang Sup. Trang Sup was an Army
Special Forces camp situated about fifty miles northwest of Saigon
in Tay Ninh province, close to the Cambodian border.
After Vietnam, Woody remained in the Air Force for nine more years.
Thurman P. Woodfork's site for more information