I am sending this to someone who's stationed in one of the most dangerous
regions of Iraq. If a special soldier needs your love, this can be your greeting,
too. Send it today, or any time you sense that your loved one – unknown to the
men who started this war, but so very important to you – needs encouragement and
a reminder to be careful so that one day you'll be together again.
This is dedicated to the one I love. I am sending
it to you on the wings of a dove, through the magic of the Internet.
I won't reveal your name, but you know who you are.
I didn't want you to go to Iraq, but there you are. Every day, I check the
news to see which soldier has died in and around the town where you're stationed.
Every day, I say a prayer for your safe return. Every day, I try not to think
But, my dear Unknown Soldier, it is not because I don't love you. It is because
The world looks so much the same that it is hard to believe that you are in
danger at every moment. Yesterday, the malls were packed, and though maybe people
were worried, nobody seemed very worried about our troops. This morning, the
talking heads will scream at one another on TV, each trying to outdo the other
in proving that they "support our troops," but they don't even know
I would like to go to church, but I might not because whenever I hear those
sad old hymns, or hear the preacher talk about supporting our troops, I cry
because I can't. If I really supported my troop, I'd have already found
a way to bring you home and save your life, your body, your mind.
I've tried, but so far I've failed. Nobody will listen. The people who support
our wars assure me that it will all be worth it in the end, even if some of
our troops have to die. They say I just don't understand that the Arab world
What they don't understand is that I just need you.
My Unknown Soldier, you're struggling to do your best in a war that you didn't
start. You try to believe your commanders when they tell you that those "insurgents"
deserve to die. You've always respected your elders, so I know you're torn between
the way you were and the way they want you to be.
Your M-16 still feels unnatural in your hands, and I hope it always will. You
notice that the Iraqi fighters are as young as or younger than you are. It's
hard not to see the look in their eyes that echoes your own thoughts: "There
is someone I love, and I want to stay alive for her… Will I?"
When I think of your brave face the last time I saw you… I can't bear to think
Please stay safe, and be careful, very careful. You're supposed to obey
your leaders' orders, I realize that. But don't let them make you reckless.
Don't let them make
you mean. Don't let them change the sweet, kind, moral person you've always
Sometimes my heart is breaking. Nothing that Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld
want is worth your life, yet those men get whatever they want. They get plenty
of money for their wars, but most of all they get people – people like
you, with your whole life ahead of you. And they get me, and people like
me, whose lives will be shattered if something happens to the soldiers we're
trying so desperately to support.
What more can I say to you from so far away? If I could, I would swoop down
and rescue you, the way Princess Leia did when Luke called out for her at the
end of The
Empire Strikes Back. Sometimes I hear your need for help the
way she did, but unlike the princess, I have no spaceship. I cannot reach you
and whisk you away to safety. This is what makes me cry.
But I want to be strong for you. Never think that I have abandoned you, for
I have not. I will not.
Whenever your feel your strength begin to falter, whenever
you think you can't go on living with the terrible things you've seen, hear
my voice. Know that I am thinking of you, however much I try not to. In
my heart I keep precious memories of you – memories of the good times, the bad
times, and the laughter we've shared … the goodness in you.
I do not want a national tomb for you, nor military medals and presidential
honors. All I want is the end of these wars so that you can come home to me.
With love, to my Unknown Soldier.
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy when skies are grey.
You'll never know dear, how much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away.
"The other night dear, as I lay sleeping,
I dreamt I held you in my arms.
When I awoke dear, I was mistaken,
So I hung my head down and cried."
- "You Are
My Sunshine" (1940)