Driving down the street today and saw a house festooned with stars and stripes balloons and a banner that said "Welcome Home Daniel." My assumption is that Daniel is home from Iraq, though of course it could be another posting, or college for that matter. But so few of these returns are marked and labeled on the outside. Who knew that someone just down my street had been gone? Not me.
And in how many of these houses have people lost a loved one? Especially in the Bay Area where we tend to assume that everyone is against the war and no one we know is there. I wonder how many degrees of separation there are between any one person and the war in Iraq, and how that affects us.
For me, the separation is enough to keep it mostly theoretical, but not entirely. My cousin's daughter and her husband are both in the Army; he has been sent to Iraq at least twice that I know of.
I wish for Memorial Day that everyone had a sign outside the house saying who they know that's in, or has been to, Iraq. The talk is so often limited to the theory; what difference would it make in the conversation if we brought it to our experience?