Archive for Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Shouts and Murmurs: Stories about military balloon

November 12, 2003

Like some situations in the world, this newspaper snowballed.

First, in honor of Veterans' Day, there was the planned story about the Leavenworth veterans who make the American Legion poppies. Then, at breakfast Sunday at a restaurant in McLouth, we noticed a waitress arranging poppies in a VFW container.

In talking to her about the poppies, and to restaurant owner Karen Bartlett, we learned that Lucas Remby, a high school senior who works at the restaurant, plans to graduate a semester early from high school so he can serve overseas as a medic in the U.S. Army.

Lucas, who just turned 18, then said he's not the only one considering the military. In his high school class, he said, at least four seniors may join the armed forces. Lucas waved across the room to the waitress who had served our breakfast, and said she plans to use an ROTC scholarship to help finance college.

So, Christina Peters joined the conversation. A story about Lucas and Christina, who both believe it's important to serve their country, appears on page 8A of this week's edition of The Mirror.

Then, Monday morning at work, an elementary school staff member called to let us know that Jeremy Goebel, the physical education teacher called into active duty earlier in the year, was back for a visit. He and his wife, Lisa, would be at the school around 9:30 a.m.

Because of that tip, Goe-bel appears in a front page photo and story this week.

In the mean- time, parents are cordially returning our phone calls about their young men who are serving in the military, some of whom are in Iraq and will be soon coming home for visits.

They are many -- the young men (at the moment we don't know of any women from this area who are serving in the military) and their parents. They've weathered the waiting and worries these past months. And now, temporarily at least as their children plan visits home, they can sleep again, free for the moment from the fears of war.

Because of the caring response from our readers, the story on area servicemen has been postponed to next week so that we will have more space to devote to it. We plan to include some of the photos shared with us by the families. And, we issue an invitation to families of local service men and women who we may not know to call us this week to contribute to the story.

A godsend of this war -- if in fact there could be one -- is that technology has improved communication. Because of the Internet and e-mail, parents and their children are communicating more often, and without the week or so wait it would take for a letter to span the distance. Some families are fortunate to receive e-mails a couple of times a week. And of course, digital photos attached to e-mails open the picture of life a world away.

But that technology, related to on-the-spot war scenes broadcast by satellites into our living rooms, is a double-edged sword.

Terri and Gordon Brest's son, Chris, drives trucks between Kuwait and Baghdad, a dangerous route if ever there were one.

"We hear reporters on the news and we hope we don't end up watching Chris's squadron behind them," Terri Brest said. So, Brest opts to put her trust in a technology that is vastly superior to the Internet or television.

Plainly, and with the love of a mother caught with a son at war, Brest explained how she's survived the tenseness of the past months. Her words were softly spoken, but overflowing with strength as she said: "As I said, God's watching over him, so we just have to trust in that."

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