Student wants father back home from war

Jessica Gerholdt/Letter to the Editor

This letter is a result of a unit done in Brian Winkel’s American Literature: 1930 to Today class where students studied the format of Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Students then used that format to create their own letters to the editor about important issues that affect teenagers today.

Dear Editor:

I am a member of Mr. Winkel’s American Literature: 1930 to Today class. I have recently read Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” and it inspired me to take action on another pressing need for all Americans: our involvement in Afghanistan. I would like to share my opinion on the topic in hope of making a difference.

Not long after 9/11, the day the Twin Towers were struck by airplanes in New York City, my father was called into action. He was to pack all his things
as soon as he could and head to his army base in Decorah, Iowa. As a young girl at the time and not knowing when he would return or what his condition was, it brought tears to my eyes realizing that my father was leaving us for his country for Iraq. Ever since the war started, we have been sending troops to Afghanistan in hope for change overseas, but what about us, the ones that suffer from loss of loved ones? My father was sent to Iraq to clean up the aftermath of battle. His efforts contributed to rebuilding schools and businesses to start the recovery of Iraq and Afghanistan, but that didn’t mean something bad couldn’t happen in a matter of seconds.

Sending troops overseas might have been the right thing to do to resolve conflicts in Iraq, but after many years of destruction and bloodshed, sending more and more troops seems to just worsen the problem back home. Soldiers are trained to fight but are not always prepared to lose their lives. Going into battle is scary for anyone, but it’s even worse knowing that you have left loved ones and family back at home worrying at your survival. Most have no idea when they will have the chance to return home or even if they will have the chance. Sending more and more troops seems very pointless to me considering all the others that are already there, and all it’s doing is bringing home more and more body bags.

I believe that now is the time to stop sending soldiers to these wars. Bringing home soldiers and letting Afghanistan resolve its own issues may be a better solution. Letting them feel they have the power may also bring less death to U.S. troops. In his letter, King said, “For years now I have heard the word ‘wait.’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘wait’ has almost always meant ‘never.’” If we don’t act now, we may never.
There is never a better time to start change, and putting this off will only put it to the back of our minds to forget.

After spending a year and a half without a father, I look back and remember all the lost time we could have spent together as a family. My step mom was pregnant with their daughter Amberly, and I know how hard it must have been on her. Having divorced parents is hard on my brother and sister anyways, but having no father at all for a longer period of time is worse. It’s like he has missed out on so much.

As a reasonable action for this issue, we should begin bringing home troops at once. Bringing them home would lessen the bloodshed. I believe that the troops that have been in Afghanistan the longest should have the chance to come home first. This is the just thing to do because being overseas is unjust considering the change in personalities, and seeing the deaths of their fellow soldiers is something they will never forget. The bombing of innocent civilians, women and children included, in Afghanistan is unjust and unacceptable. We need to put an end to not sleeping a wink at night and wondering what’s in for tomorrow or simply trying to survive through the night,

In his letter, King said, “As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise.” The United States was promised our soldiers would be in Iraq up to a year, and soon after our troops were called to stay longer up to three years; they promised change for years to come. Having our loved ones in the face of danger has gone long enough; children need their mothers and fathers home to teach them the ways of life and to be a part of their lives.

Respectfully,
Jessica Gerholdt
CFHS student

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