Letter to a Grandson

Dear Peter,

Please read before enlisting.

I have a heavy burden on my heart. I have prayerfully considered writing this, and decided that I must. My whole life, I have relied on God for my strength, and Jesus for my salvation. I am not perfect. But He loves me anyway, and has always been my guide.

Consider for a moment when you were a little boy. Remember when your mom brought you here because your brother needed medical attention that could not be provided for him at your home in Juneau? Do you recall how much you wanted to be with your dad and your stuff and your home and your friends? I know that this was a very hard time for you. The day before you returned home, there was a bitter disagreement with your cousin over the ownership of a toy. Both claimed that toy because it was your connection with the security of home. I prayed about the decision I made then too. Please forgive me if I made a mistake. I don't think I did, and I am certain I am not making one now.

You were unhappy. You had every right to be. The circumstances were tough. But you had enough to eat. There was water to drink and bathe in. Bombs and rockets did not wake you in the night, or land in your living room. Uniformed men did not wait for you in the yard. Your family was not murdered and mutilated or tortured by foreign militia. There was no smell of napalm, blood and decaying body parts in the air. You were not forced to leave your home to find a cave in the fields. Sure you wanted to go home, but did you worry that your plane would be blown from the sky on your return? Did the thought occur to you that your car could be riddled with bullets on the way home from the airport? Of course not!

If I could ask the 1,418 American soldiers who have died in Iraq or the uncounted who have lost eyesight, arms, legs and minds, I think they might agree with me. If you could visit the more than 100,000 dead inhabitants of Iraq and the countless others suffering devastating disfigurement, hunger and fear, I think you might agree with me.

We Americans, incensed by the attack on our soil, have allowed our leaders to enact a plan to destroy – annihilate – indiscriminately eliminate – an entire land and its people in retribution. The motto has become: They must be like we want them to be or we will get rid of them. We may get rid of them anyway because they are in our way of becoming the ultimate ruler of the world.

"Vengeance is mine," sayeth the Lord.

What may have once been considered a solution has developed into an unholy bloodbath. These past months I have read where Marines smash small children in the face with their weapons if they get too near, because they might be carrying a grenade. Fear lurks everywhere.

I have read an account of an old man who, sitting in his bare room on the floor, told of the machine gun fire that ripped through their van, killing his wife and five of their children. He and two children barely managed to survive their wounds. They hate all Americans; the same gut feeling that ran rampant here after 9/11. The old man would gladly strap on a bomb and seek out an American – any American – to kill. He was just a little old man who was working and worshipping and raising his family in the best way he knew how. He is no longer that man since America invaded his homeland. He has two sons left. They share his hate.

We have become the terrorists. By terror we will eliminate terror? Does that make sense? NO! There is more terror and threat of terror than ever before.

"Vengeance is mine," sayeth the Lord.

Have you read your Declaration of Independence and Constitution? We are all created equal under God, not that some are more equal than others.

The Bible states: "Love they neighbor." Is this how we show love?

Greed, power, and a desire for material things will always preoccupy some human beings, with little regard for the consequences. Does that show love?

Do all that is in your heart. I will love you unconditionally, no matter what. BUT…I will be sore ashamed of a grandson who indiscriminately bludgeons a small child out of fear of him. I will grieve for one of my own who riddles foreign villages with mortar fire to eliminate all life there – mosques, homes, gardens, places of business, hospitals, water sources, electricity, people. I will mourn over the body bag that comes back to me with his mortal remains – because my Peter was destined to become a great man.

Don't go.

Always lovin' you, Gramma

January 29, 2005