After my Sunday nap, I decided to watch my DVR’d recap of The Royal Wedding. I slept during the live wedding footage from London. Then I worked during the media frenzy of the day following. But I understand the significance of the event and looked forward to getting the scoop. I thoroughly enjoyed Katie Couric’s summary of the happy day.
That proved to be the perfect contrast to other big news I watched later in the day.
It’s 12:00 a.m. on the east coast and the celebration along the fence of the White House is magnifying by the minute. Hundreds of citizens have gathered in preparation for and aftermath of President Obama’s speech confirming the news: Osama Bin Laden is dead. The people flooded the streets, cameras and U.S. flags in hand, chanting “U! S !A!”, and singing the national anthem and “na-na-na-na, hey hey hey, goodbye”. Almost 10 years after 9/11, the man responsible for that day’s harrowing evil has finally been brought to his earthly justice by the U.S. military.
I just watched President Obama give his speech. One man reporting on CNN said, “I don’t remember a statement that was so celebratory… This goes back to the fall of the Berlin Wall before you find anything this dramatic, with such a positive history about it.” Three U.S. presidents have been involved in hunting for this man, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama.
Today is Sunday, May 1, 2011. Alan left for Germany a week ago tomorrow to start his new job in Heidelberg, supporting the U.S. troops and their families based in that area. Some of them currently have soldiers deployed to Afghanistan. The unit he will be supporting is scheduled to deploy this summer. I can’t pretend to know what the future brings as result of today’s news, but there really can’t be enough said for how proud I feel to be an American–knowing the sacrifice that has gone into this end. Even if this is not the end.
It was inevitable, with America’s long-time involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that U.S. politicians and citizens would get caught up in facts and figures and forget the reasons for staying in the fight. We’re a strong enough country to stand on our own and leave things be, right? As an Army wife, I’m close enough to have an opinion about our tax dollars being wasted in the process of our mission against terror. But I’ve also been close enough to see the reasons our soldiers go to war.
It’s no joke, the words are not trite: our men and women in uniform protect our way of living, of chosing whom to marry, how to worship, and the ambition toward education and a career that brings us joy and fulfillment. And the few who volunteer will continue to give their all for the many.
Knowing that Alan is so far away has brought back emotions from his deployment to Iraq. That time–we were newlyweds who had only known each other for six months. This time–we have more history behind us and this week, I have never felt more co-dependent. As much as I dislike being without Alan, I feel very much balanced with gratitude. During our years together (we just hit 4!), financial security has been sacrificed for the trade off of an abundance of time together. We haven’t always made the most of that time, but that time has been a blessing worth the sacrifice. Today’s news-watching reinforced that lesson for me. Love is what matters most.
Witnessing two countries celebrating in the same day has left me with a profound love for life. Both England and the United States are rejoicing over different events but with the same kind of patriotism. While some may get carried away with that freedom of expression, love is at the core of it. God is love.