This mom woke up this morning and I should be celebrating. School. Is. Out. Hallelujah! I do feel more glad than you know for that, but this morning, this momma’s heart, stomach, mind is a pile of nerves. This morning, Sergent Bowe Bergdahl has arrived back home in the USA.
Sadly, I didn’t know about his captivity until it was announced that he was released. Once his release became public information, I became appalled. Not because this guy may have been a deserter, not because he taught himself the language of the country our country was at war with, not because he had supposedly written sympathetic things about the people who live in Afghanistan. I became appalled at the actions and reactions of a large number of American people.
Land of the free, home of the brave. The place where you are presumed innocent until you are found to be guilty. The greatest country in the world, who’s young men, who go off to fight wars that they may or may not agree with to preserve our freedoms and upon their return, we treat them like heroes. Oh wait. About that.
That is why my stomach feels all sick-ish. I am embarrassed, or even further, ashamed, of the behavior of so many people in this country regarding the return of Bowe Bergdahl. I want to somehow hide all of the blind hatred being spewed, from this young man and his family. Hide it from the rest of the world.
We, who preach the anti-bullying message to our kids are now happily teaching our kids that in some cases, like this one, it is okay to bully. We are hypocrites and I just want to gather the friends and family of Bowe and and tell them how sorry I am that today, a day that should be filled with the I-haven’t-seen-my son-in-five-years anxiety, and the I-hope-my-son-will-be-able-to-make-a-full-recovery anxiety, and filled with joy because, no matter how long his recovery takes, he is back home in your arms and not in danger of being tortured or killed anymore… instead, that day is also filled with a fear and anxiety that your son, who has already been through God-knows-what hell, is the target for so much passionate hate, not from the terrorist group that held him, but from terrorists of a different kind. The ones who say they are ‘true’ patriots. The ones who declare boldly that they would never consider deserting, but have never enlisted. The ones who seem to know exactly what happened in this case, although top military officials have clearly gone on the record as saying that they do not know that he deserted and that they cannot link any military deaths on him. The ones who have tried him and found him guilty, long before his plane landed on US soil. May God Bless the USA, but may God not ask us What Would Jesus Do.
This momma knows that if it was my son coming home to this kind of hatred, I would be in full momma-bear mode, and I want to stand along side this mom and dad and say, “This is my son, and I am proud of him.”
That a nation should bully a small town to the point that they cancel their welcome home celebration, that a nation would terrorize a family with death threats because their son is no longer being held by terrorists, that a nation would say that this young man deserves a firing squad, to be sent back or (the kindest option) to be put in prison for life, shames me to the very fiber of my being.
When I saw the news this morning and immediately felt nerves, I did what I always do when I need comfort, I reached for my Grandpa’s fleece-lined flannel shirt that he used to always wear- it was too early to reach for the wine, which is always a close second option.
My granddad was a World War II vet with two purple hearts, but more importantly, he had a heart of gold. My granddad was one of the wisest, most Christian people I have ever met. My grandfather definitely had strong opinions about what was happening in the world, but the thing I most respected about him is that his first reaction was always one of love. Even if he did not agree with policies being made, the presidents or politicians in office or wars being fought, he first reacted in kindness and love. Never once did I hear my grandfather speak about anyone with hatred or disgust. I loved that and I wish that we, as a county could be more like that. Less quick to judge. More quick to open our arms.
I have no doubt that military brass are working to find out what happened, but I don’t really need to know because it could not change my heart. Today, I have decided that I will be a welcoming committee of one. I will stand shoulder to shoulder with Bowe Bergdahl’s friends and family and proudly say that my son is home.