A Mother's Rage
By Marianne Brown
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Tuesday 21 October 2003
I am a mother, 52 years old, and my son is in the National Guard. They won't let him go because the National Guard has put a 'stop-loss' on all Reservists and National Guard troops who are legally supposed to be discharged when their time is up. They might send him overseas on Friday.
I'm mad. Of course I'm mad. I'm a mother.
Let me tell you what being a mother is, if you don't know. It begins with having a child. You are a young girl, (I was only 27), and you give birth...wow....what a birth...my son took 38 hours of hard labor to give birth to. He weighed almost 9 lbs, and he was so beautiful. I don't care how much pain it was now, because he was worth it. He was so cute. He had fat cheeks and a smart little mind. He knew the alphabet by the time he was 14 months old. I taught him. His name is Bobby.
What a little bundle of laughs he was. I tried to teach him compassion, and it worked. He had such a good heart. He brought so many small animals home and asked me to save them. He got in a fight once, when he was five, with a group of small boys who tried to kill a toad. He actually fought for a toad, and wouldn't let anyone hurt it. When Bobby was in high school, he protected a gay kid here from being beaten up in school. I like to think that came from me teaching him, as a kid, always to protect the underdog, always to stand up for what is right.
Bobby grew up and I watched him as a little boy. He was named after his dad, who died in a terrible work accident when Bobby was 11. I pretty much raised him alone. He was taught, by me, to be kind. I did the best I could to raise all three of my boys. I tried to teach them kindness, compassion, and empathy. Maybe I should have taught them something else.
Don't trust the U.S. government.
I showed them all the anti-war movie I could show them. They all knew what I was doing. I showed them as best I could what Vietnam was. I did everything I could.
A few years ago, when Clinton was in office, I was called by Bobby. He said, "Hey Mom, I joined the National Guard. I want to help people." He knew I didn't trust the military, but in his mind, he felt it was the kind and good thing to do. He assured me, "Mom, I'll be able to help the people here in Michigan, fight forest fires, and protect us."
By law, he is supposed to leave the Guard on November 17. Who would have ever thought that Bush would be now on the verge of allowing my son to die, and not allow him to be discharged on his due date? I watched my little boy grow into a man of integrity, a man, despite the horrible death of his father, of decency and kindness and compassion. Now, some frat boy who wants to make money for his friends, who is being allowed to murder our sons and daughters in this war, will possibly send my son to be murdered and die in some godforsaken place.
I have spent 25 years watching my son grow into a man of decency, kindness, and goodness. I also know that on Oct 24, he will lose his right to be discharged, and be deployed to God knows where. For what? For a spoiled frat boy with no intregrity and no compassion who will murder him for money and for his corporate friends.
I'm mad. I am furious. I raised a wonderful young man. No one, I mean no one, has a right to take him from me.
Marianne Brown lives in Michigan.
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