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End of war brings home loved ones

By Will Bonnell

On Oct. 21st, 2011, President Obama announced the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year. Though nationwide, this plan does not affect Fort Lee. Troops from that base were brought home in April of 2011.

When Obama was inaugurated, he made his highest national security priority to end the war in Iraq. Many are delighted to say, that after nine years of conflict there, the war is over. The Iraqis have taken full responsibility for their country’s security, and are now in a stable enough environment in which they do not need the aid of the United States.

Many children and teens face the fear of losing a parent due to terrorism, but this Christmas much of this anxiety will be gone. As Iraq’s government gains more and more confidence, Iraq and the U.S. have decided that all troops in Iraq are to be out of the country by December 31, 2011.

“I feared for my mom’s well-being [when she was deployed], because she was in a foreign country that is known to be dangerous,” sophomore Sean Brown said.

Liz Brown, the mother of Brown, has been through multiple deployments both to Iraq and Afghanistan, and Brown says it’s tough not having her around.

Often deployments can be scary. About 17% of kids between the ages of 11 and 17 say they coped poorly or very poorly with having a parent deployed, as researched by Leonard Wong, PhD, a research professor at the US Army War College. Many students have experienced this, and understand this situation. Lorna King, the Mobilization and Deployment Program Manager of the Army Community Service, describes what it is like for kids of deployed troops.

“Deployment impacts certain kids differently. Some kids are more prone to things like depression, because they don’t understand,” King said.

King works with families that have a parent deployed in a foreign country. She helps both spouses and kids cope. As Christmas time is almost here, she has to help kids deal with not having a dad or mom to celebrate the holidays with them.

“No kid wants to be separated from a parent on Christmas day. It goes back to that missing piece. You just can’t bring back those moments,” King said.

Many children will be able to find relief this Christmas with President Obama’s promise. Thousands of children will be able to spent time with their deployed parents this Christmas.

“It’s not even like Christmas without my mom, it feels empty,” Brown said.

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  • J

    John ShumarJan 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    I remember when my dad used to deploy when I was younger. However, I was very ignorant to the fact that he could have died, so I cannot fully grasp what it must feel like for kids my age who are less naive to have a parent or loved one fighting over seas. While our troops poor back into the United States, I do not think-as ignorant teenagers- we should judge what they have accomplished or what they have not accomplished. The bottom line is that they served their country, preserved Old Glory, and for that deserve a round of applause. Go America

  • C

    Caleb JohnsonJan 1, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Its hard for us to say what is the best choice for war in Iraq because we have a limited knowledge of the pros and cons of the war. As for the well being of the children and parents that were affected directly by deployment into the war it without a doubt a great thing to me to know that anxiety, stress, and depression of those gone to the war has be relieved.

  • M

    Michaela HarrisonJan 1, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    This article was well-written and had very accurate facts, but I felt Bonnell should have mentioned that Obama is bringing home all soldiers JUST from Iraq, there are still thousands being deployed to Afganistan and Kuwait. I liked that he took the time to look at the perspective of the “Army Brat”, which many overlook.

  • J

    Jessica TaylorJan 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I did not have a parent or family member in Iraq so I cannot fully understand what it is like, but I can only imagine. I am glad that the troops are home from Iraq. No progress was being made in the war, but more and more people were dying.

  • J

    Jordan ThompsonDec 27, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    This article allowed me to come to the realization of how fortunate I am because I, unlike other children that are of military background, did not have a parent overseas fighting for our country. I could not imagine the hardships these children have had to face since the war began years ago. This article was well-written simply because it focused on one specific topic throughout the entire article. It is a blessing I’m sure for those whose parents were overseas for quite some time to be able to welcome them with open arms on Christmas. I know that they would be the best Christmas present ever if I was in that person’s shoes. I do not think I would have the strength to continue going through life everyday for several years without having my dad or mom by my side. I would like to say thank you to those who have fought for our country and my condolences go out to those whose parents have safely returned home.