No man’s land. Trenches. Mustard gas. The battle of the Somme. It was supposed to be the “Great War,” the last war. Finally, in the eleventh hour, a peace treaty was grudgingly inked. November 11, 1918. But it was an uneasy peace that would not last.
Germany marched into Poland and took its’ people hostage, and one by one other European countries were added to their list of deadly conquests. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, it shattered America's heart. This war quickly took our brothers, sisters, uncles, and fathers to distant killing shores. Nearly 300,00 men and women gave their lives that we might live without tyranny and protect those who are persecuted.
Then came Korea, Vietnam, and now the longest war in American history, Afghanistan. Bin Laden toppled the twin towers and Americans signed up to serve as quickly as they could drive to the recruiter’s office. But Afghanistan is an ancient, barbaric land that cannot seem to shake its’ tribal-war lord ways, nor its oppressive behavior over the women who see the world through the embroidered grillwork of a Burqa and are punished when they disobey any man. It has been 20 long tear-filled years and finally, America is saying, “enough is enough.” 2,977 died on September 11, 200. Our revenge has cost another 2,312 American lives on the killing streets of Herat, Jalalabad, or the sand and pock-marked mountains that hide the Taliban.
On a flight to Frankfurt two soldiers board. One whacks the other with his camo cap. The other pulls his cap down over his eyes. Perhaps to hide a prayer to the desert Gods, “Let the desert devil lie, return me in one piece without evil touching my soul.”
Two decades later, our soldiers are finally being called home. What is left behind will be the Taliban, warlords, and women who will lose any rights they have gained. Their hope for education will vanish when US forces board the last plane to come home. Twenty years later we are back where we began. A promise of peace, soon to be broken. This time I pray we can stay home. May peace be our guide.
by Connie Timpson Writer/Author/Photographer