Christmas is never more difficult or emotional than during wartime when the fate of many loved ones hangs like a lonely, forlorn ornament on a tree whose branches are shaken daily by violence. It is at this time that we who do not have to experience the ceaseless worry of having a son or daughter or husband or wife in harm's way should not only recognize our good fortune but also understand our obligation to those who do.
Whatever our traditional celebration, it should be undertaken with the utmost sensitivity to the fact several thousand young Americans are not coming home this year or ever and that many more face that prospect in the days to come. It matters not at all that this is a path they have taken of their own free will or that we disagree with the policies that put them there. We owe them far more than they owe us for they really are just the instrument of our collective desire under a democratic process. We put them there with our electoral choices and they've gone without hesitation.
With this in mind, it is incredible to note that Time Magazine's eagerly awaited choice for Person of the Year is us, a reflection of our own image as we gaze at the cover once adorned yearly with the pictures of the world's leading figures, including at one time, Adolf Hitler. This, of course, makes us remember the observation of Pogo, cartoonist Walt Kelley's sage little possum, that "We have met the enemy and they is us." How true. Otherwise we wouldn't be in this mess where even those charged with carrying out a clearly misguided attempt at imposing our political culture concede that it is a cause fast slipping from our grasp -- that the destruction in Iraq may not match the ultimate damage to our national psyche and our place in history as a country that fervently honors justice under the guidance of a supreme being whatever he is called.
Wouldn't the news magazine have done much better selecting a representative of our armed services -- perhaps one from each -- as persons of the year? Or might it not have been more appropriate to choose one of those mothers whose son or daughter has given his or her life in pursuit of our objectives. If the magazine wanted to broaden that honor, it could have simply adorned the cover with a gold star symbolizing the sacrifice so many families have made. And while the editors were at it, they might have made it clear they were also remembering all the innocent civilians in the war zone who were victims of sectarian violence for which we must accept a measure of responsibility.
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