When I heard the announcement that the war in Iraq will come to an end and our soldiers will return home by the holidays, it hit me. We’ve been at war in Iraq for nine years, since 2003, not too long after the terrorist attacks on 9-11.
That’s almost half my life and the majority of my teenage years. For all of that time, my country has been at war.
The strange thing is when I think of the term “war,” the images that stir up in my memory are old photographs of my grandfather from the Korean War or snapshots from history books. I never think modern day. I never think about the present.
I’m not alone. A lot of people seem to share in my confusion. The detachment is an echo of many students and young adults who are a part of the millennial generation. In our world of high-tech gadgets and gear, it’s easy to disconnect and unplug from the harsh realities of our country.
But the numbers are right in front of me. The war cost $805 billion and much worse, 4500 American lives. Each soldier lost his or her life so that America could feel safe again. So, I replay President Obama’s speech in the newsroom.
The decision’s been made. All U.S. troops will be out of Iraq, though I know not everyone’s on board. Some feel the Iraqis are not ready to go it alone. But perhaps, our opinions are swayed by the fact that we have been so detached with our troops’ involvement. Perhaps, the only way to move forward is to put a definitive end to this limbo war-era. Our country’s been at war for so long that we’re starting to doubt the safety of living in a nation that isn’t in the battlefield. We fear the thought of being unarmed. But I’m starting to think the answer to winning is accepting our losses and preparing to move on. Then, maybe, the reality will sink in.