It’s the 5th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.
It was also, 5 years ago, today, that my husband and I renewed our vows in front of our closest friends.
It was a surprise wedding that I put together while he was serving on a remote duty station in South Korea for a year.
My husband got a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
We moved to a new home.
Do I remember these things by looking at a calendar or by chatting it up with people who were there during my experience?
I can easily mark the time by remembering where I was/what I was doing when I saw “shock and awe” on my television set.
I remember that it was 6 months before my husband’s first deployment to Iraq.
I mark how long I have been in my current business by noting that I got started the October after the war started and two weeks before my husband left for Iraq, the first time.
My youngest son turned four years old the November following that first deployment.
It became easy to mark deployments and redeployments based on whether my little guy was going to have an even or odd numbered birthday. Of course, now with 15-month vs 12-month deployments, it will be a little more difficult to mark time that way.
The hardest part is that, after 5 years of the US occupying Iraq, I am still marking time with this damned war.
I can remember precisely where I was, who I was with, or what I was doing, based on which deployment someone asks me about.
I remember that I had a miscarriage after the first redeployment.
I finally started doing business under my own name, after the second deployment.
My husband and I were both sick as dogs less than a week before his third deployment. I can mark the last time we had a conjugal visit.
I don’t even need a calendar.
This is my life.
Most people map their lives based on important events like marriage, childbirth, divorce and other life changes. I can map my life based on the Iraqi invasion, from “shock and awe” to today, as my husband is currently deployed.
Iraq is very much a part of my daily life. I have to map my daily schedule based on whether or not my soldier will have access to the internet on any given day. If there is a bad news on TV, I may not hear from my soldier for days. I make sure I am sitting at my computer, anyway. Hubby needs something very particular, that he can’t find at his current base, I have to send it to him. I have to fill out a customs form, just to send him a box of chocolates. Of course, his needs are never that simple…
This war was sold to the American people with the idea that we would, essentially, be in and out, just like the first time the US invaded Iraq. Now, 5 years on, there are thousands of families, just like mine, marking time based on when their soldier left for Iraq and when he’s coming back.
John McCain sees us there for another 100 years. I can’t imagine marking any more time based on this war. I don’t want my children to learn to mark time using my calendar.
(Cross-posted at Dizzy Dayz)