Crazy Iraq Veterans

Well, we did it.  The first face-to-face meeting of the organizing team of Operation Recovery has come to an end.  We met for about twenty hours over the last two days and people are starting to make their way back to their home “duty stations.”  I’ll sleep here in Philly one more night—or part of it.  I have to get up at 430 and get to the airport.  My plane lands at 10:15 (pray God it’s on time) and I’ll go “straight” to Edison Elementary.  I hope my kiddies studied their spelling this weekend!

I do appreciate all the prayers, good thoughts and messages of support over this eventful weekend.  Yes, it was very hard but the work we do is so important to me.  I care so deeply for our men and women who have served and who are still serving.  I really think that a lot of our efforts this weekend will make a real impact on their ability to get the help they deserve and that we can, with the help of all of you who care as I do, to stop the deployment of servicemembers who are suffering with PTSD and MST (military sexual trauma).  We owe it to them.  We must not be silent.

I just got off the phone with my parents.  My dad reminded me that I have a birthday on Friday.  It’s hard to believe I’m already halfway through my forties.  I know I’m not an old man by far and if I stick with my recent efforts to take better care of myself, I can keep doing the work that I love for many more years.  I am, however made acutely aware (by very grueling work marathons like this weekend) that I’m not twenty years old anymore.  I’m dog-tired tonight but happy too.  It’s a good quality tired that comes as the result of feeling like you’ve done good work.

Another benefit is that I get to work alongside some wonderful people in IVAW.  They are so smart and so committed and determined to do the best we can to do what we believe is right.  Sure, many of us (myself included) deal with our own demons as a byproduct of our experience.  To this endeavor we bring a lot of our “baggage.”  It’s not always neat.  In fact it’s often sloppy.  We inadvertently hurt each other as we stumble forward in this fight.  But we seem to always talk it through and end up reminding ourselves why we do this.  Activism is not a job for the faint of heart and there are certainly plenty of people out there who continually try to destroy us with the hateful things they say.  I doubt they would do so if they could see what I’ve seen this weekend.  These beautiful, crazy people have made a difference.  And we’re just getting started.

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