Thursday, February 03, 2005

State of the Union Address: The hug says it all


Norwood and Sahail

Two patriots from disparate countries embraced during President Bush's State of the Union Address tonight, affirming each other's contribution to a free world. There wasn't a dry in the House - or our house.

The woman facing us in the photo is Janet Norwood of Pflugerville, Texas. This mom sent a letter to President Bush stating that her son, Marine Sergeant Byron Norwood, was proud to protect Americans from terror. Sergeant Norwood lost his life during the assault on Al Falluja.

A woman seated near her in Laura Bush's box also experienced a loss at the hands of terrorists. Safia Taleb al-Suhail, whose back is to us in the photo, is a democracy and human rights advocate in Iraq. Her father was murdered by one of Saddam Hussein's henchmen. Safia proudly held up her right pointer finger to show the blue ink stain that marked her as a voter in her country's historic election.

The two women then hugged each other in a powerful display of emotion. By joining together in a physical embrace, these women created a symbol of unification that answered one of the President's challenges in his speech tonight: "Our third responsibility to future generations is to leave them an America that is safe from danger, and protected by peace."

As a daughter and mother, I could relate to the pain, bravery, and perseverance that these women displayed. None of us want to replicate their tortuous experience. But their example inspires me to help.

We want to protect our children from fear. It is one of the first challenges for parents of a toddler. My father unruffled me the first time I went in a row boat with him on choppy seas. My mother calmed me when flat black shadows moved off the walls onto my bed.

There are more dangers to defeat now than when I was a child. Let's Lead Our Leaders to focus on our survival issues: polarization, terror, deficits, wealth inequalities, and energy/environment

.The children in our charge after 9/11 have more monsters to quell than those mythical ones under their bed. The only force strong enough to stop the real terrorist monsters is to replace their montrous hatred with hope.


Supporting freedom abroad

Supporting freedom for women in Iraq

Have you experienced the loss of a loved one on foreign soil? What counseling & support websites were helpful to you?

Have you found websites that offer us opportunities to help women abroad who are struggling with injustice?

Everywhere, peace is uppermost in women's minds. Jacqueline Kennedy, 2 November 1960.