SUPPORT OUR TROOPS
By: Jo Cooper
 

 
 
 
 
Rough Draft
     Jo had a lifelong hatred of war, partly because of her very personal experiences when her first husband John, who was in the Army, was sent to Korea, partly because of her very nature. For several months before her death, she had been writing this "Op Ed" article so as to publicly express her thoughts. She continued to work on it to the very end of her life, although it became increasingly difficult to do so due to her failing eyesight and her difficulty in breathing. Because she tired easily, she would set a timer for fifteen minutes to remind her not to work too long at the computer. Periodically she would have a girl come in, "Sophie," to retype the documents into a finished form, suitable for submitting to the newspapers. Sadly, she never got to submit this one. However, you can read it and perhaps come to appreciate just how passionately she felt regarding the futility of war.
 

 
  How dare you say I donít support the troops! I not only want to support them, I donít want any of them to fall down at all. I donít want any of them to be killed! Iíve been against the Bush invasion policy way before this immoral war started in Iraq, but that does not mean I am unpatriotic. Iíve supported the troops since World War II.

On December 8, 1941, I was in a seventh grade classroom at Roosevelt Grammar School in Ferndale, Michigan. The PA system squawked on unexpectedly and I heard FDRís voice saying,"Today is a day of infamy." Then he went on to explain what the war with Japan would mean to us. We would have to all work together, the sacrifices we would have to make, and the gas and food rationing. When it finished, the little girl next to me piped up,"Oh dear, now I wonít be able to have butter with my potatoes." I wanted to slap her. I knew that war meant that men would get killed. My father had been called to active duty in the Navy in 1939, so our family was already separated and messed up.

In grammar schools today the PA system is more likely to announce fire or earthquake drills. In fact, adults have to wade through twenty minutes of local or celebrity news before the media mentions the daily spin on how successful we have been"pushing back the insurgents and only six Americans were killed.Ē I have to listen to KTLK radio or read the Progressive magazine to find out how many troops were wounded, not to mention how many Iraqi families are trying to find their dead relations. I wince to think how many family members are devastated, how many children will never see their fathers again, and how many mothers will suffer the loss of her only son.

In 1951, I said goodbye to my 2nd Lt. husband who was shipping out to be a forward observer in the 2nd Army Division Artillery going to Korea. I was pregnant and holding my six month old daughter in my arms. We tried to pretend that he was just going away on another maneuver, but we both knew he might never come back. I moved back home with my parents and spent fourteen months in living hell, every day pushing the stroller up the dirt road to the mail box hoping for an occasional V-mail or a letter from him. I also dreaded the hand delivered Western Union telegrams I would eventually receive that read"Lt. John E. Hunt, Jr. is missing in action" a few days later corrected to say"Lt. John E. Hunt, Jr. is wounded in action."

Nowadays I donít think they even use Western Union, they send an officer in person to break this terrible news to the loved ones in the families of service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. I shudder to think how many thousands have gone through this during the past four years.

In the 1960ís I agreed with the Viet Nam war protests but I never actually participated in any.

Last month I came in my wheelchair to join the Cindy Sheehan protest with my sign announcing my prayer,"Peace, not war." I also signed petitions and voted for the democrats I still hope will stop Bush (and the oil companies) from sending more troops into harmís way.

To keep from going into deep depression over the mess in the world today, I think back to a day in 1945.

As I changed from cable car to bus on my way home from high school, the paper boys on Market Street were shouting the news about the first ever meeting of the United Nations in San Francisco I said out loud," Thank God. Now the old men will fight wars across a table, not with our young men on the front lines."

Surely we, the people of this global, high-tech, enlightened world, will realize that war is not a solution at all. We should be open to learn from other cultures, not force them to change to ours. Ideally, we could show them by example how freedom and democracy work. Then our great grandchildren, yours and mine, can live as they will be born to live--in peace, not war.
 

 
 
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