- Posted February 3, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The war through your eyes: Iraq 10 years on
10 Years Gone
In a few months I will turn 23 and if I strain to look back far enough I can see with the hazy eyes of memory snippets of the 90's. I remember the peeling skin of sunburns from trips to the beach and Six Flags and Sea World. I remember coming home from school to watch Dexter's Lab and Johnny Bravo. I even remember begging my grandparents to let me stay awake till midnight on Y2K; I wanted to be awake for the end.
But these memories are rare and faint and dying.
The sad truth of the matter is that I don't have many memories that don't include Middle Eastern politics or the tribal regions between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
I do remember every day of middle school starting off with news listing body counts, high profile captures, and the newest beheadings followed by a commercial.
I do remember sitting in American History and reading about the wonders of American republicanism and our singular ownership of honor, egalitarianism, and freedom. And I remember hearing about the Patriot Act and the water boarding and the discrimination that American Muslims faced.
I remember a tense Sunday night when Obama announced that Bin Laden was dead. And I remember how torn I was between being proud and sad.
These are the things that made up my childhood. War has been a constant and an understood for myself and many other millennials.
In this country we have a knack for talking about war like a cut; as if it's something traumatic and violent but ultimately contained.
But the truth of war is that it is a poison. There is no place in a country untouched by its venom. For after a war wounds are carried not only by a country's soldiers but by its character and its history and its children.
And it can seem that the story stops there. We're out of Iraq, soon to be out of Afghanistan, let's just wipe our hands and lick our wounds and be done with it.
But the true toll of these wars will manifest in the decades to come. How do we help and honor the veterans lucky enough to come home? How do we recover our standing in the international community? How do we recover our financial bearing after the insane amount of money spent on these two wars?
These are just a few of the questions that have to be answered and they will not be answered by the generation that started these wars. They will be answered by the millennials who grew up with warrantless wire taps and full body frisks at airports. They will be answered by the generation that left middle and high school on a Tuesday in September to watch an endless loop of falling fire, falling towers, falling people.