I woke up this Saturday morning and went to a horse farm with my sister to clean out the stalls. Afterwards, we followed our usual routine at stopping at a small-town cafe (St. George's in Henniker, NH) for two double chai tea lattes. As I waited for our drinks, I glanced over at the bulletin board that was covered with signs for Lab puppies, plowing services, various business cards and the typical mess that bulletin boards boast. I haven't been in this cafe for a while, and the only posting that was not unfamiliar to me was the picture of Russell Durgin. He smiles in this picture, wearing a black tux with a red tie and cumberbun. I think that this is a picture of him at his senior prom.
This picture reminds me of an event that my Mom told me about a few months ago. One of the young men from Henniker was being called to Iraq to serve his country. He was at daily Mass, as was Russell's mom. The community prayed for his safe return, while Russell's mom cried in the back of the church. She sobbed. The young man hugged her and promised that he'd return, a promise that both of them knew might be broken. I am very sad for this man's family, and for Russell's family.
As all these thoughts came flooding to mind, I see the headlines. Two mentally retarded women were strapped with explosives and sent into a busy market in Iraq. Soon after, these explosives were remotely denotated, killing these two innocent women and others in the market. Such cowardice is unspeakable. It is the cowardice that uses babies to protect murderers and terrorists. It is the cowardice that preys upon human decency for personal gain and ambition. It is the cowardice that uses drug money to support those who oppress, abuse and murder the most innocent in society.
As I drive over the Russell M. Durgin Memorial Bridge in Henniker, NH I pray for Russell's soul, and that his family receive comfort for their terrible and tragic loss. I also pray that his sacrifice, the sacrifice of his family and his community is not in vain. I pray that while some will choose to belittle their loss, and the loss to a small New England community, that even they will be safe from the harm that Russell fought against. I pray that the work that our soldiers are doing in Iraq will ensure a safe and secure America for many years to come.
The war in Iraq is not alot of words spoken on the floor of the senate. Its not about political posturing or rhetoric. The war is about small town communities offering their best and bravest young men and women to protect this way of life.
Not everyone is asked to make this sacrifice, only those strong enough to endure it.