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Dad’s story: Views on the news change

Submitted by on Saturday, 4 July 2009 One Comment

Dad was interested enough in the Michael Jackson rehearsal video when it was released this week to watch the first time CNN aired it.

“He looks skinny … but he was always skinny. He’s not moving like he used to, though,” he said.

“Sheesh, he was 50. No wonder,” I added.

By the time the video had aired the umpteenth time, though, he was  irritated. CNN also had teased an Afghanistan story but kept bumping it for Jackson “news.”

The same thing happened the next day, when Sarah Palin kept bumping Aghanistan. “Get that witch off the TV,” he said. Or maybe it was something more colorful. The military isn’t noted for its low-sodium language.

It was a change I’d kind of expected. When I worked at the newspaper in Fayetteville, N.C. near Fort Bragg, getting international news into print was a high priority. An event far away that could seem inconsequential in other cities could have meaning to readers in the home of the 82nd Airborne, which can deploy anywhere in the world in 18 hours.

The shift still struck me as it played out in the living room.

Civilian Dad: Surfing YouTube, horror movie sites and Yahoo sports for Los Angeles Laker news.

Soldier Dad: Glued to news networks and Web sites, looking for the latest from Afghanistan.

Jackson and Palin aside, there’s been plenty of news from Afghanistan this week. An American soldier kidnapped. Thousands of Marines sent in. Two American soldiers killed and at least 42 insurgents killed today.

“I wonder if I can check in early,” said Dad, who’s on leave for another week and a half. “I should be there. ”

That was another shocking, yet expected, reaction. I’d seen the same thing in my brother long ago, when he got mad that his unit was assigned to guard a PX in Germany during the first Gulf War. He wanted to be in Iraq, where comrades were doing what they’d trained to do.

I convinced Dad that he should stick around for the duration of his leave, particularly since Big Guy’s birthday party falls at the end of it. He agreed, but made a prediction.

“I bet I’ll be deployed within two months.”

There was no resignation or disappointment in the prophecy. Instead, it was spoken with anticipation.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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One Comment »

  • MtnMom said:

    Tell Dad we are proud of him! And we are blessed by his desire to serve his country and support his fellow troops.

    On the Fourth of July, it is good to be reminded of the conflicts the United States is involved in around the globe. Dad’s connection to the news reminds me of one of my brother’s in law who, though we had never met, asked within the first ten minutes of being in our home if we had cable. I handed him the remote control and we spent the next several days with FOX news in the background of every conversation, card game, and meal. Though a different network, the mentality was the same. Our invasion of Afghanistan was still new then. By the end of that visit I knew every news network on TV, and names of countries that previously existed only in my vague memories of fourth grade history, became a major everyday concern.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY THE TO USA!!! And God bless the Army family in this blog! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SACRIFICE AND SERVICE!