A Cautious Man
October 13, 2003
"In the Streets of Our Own Cities"
This is related to the entry just below. In addition to the revisionist views of why we went to war, another popular theme is that the war was brought to Iraq, so that it would not be brought home to us in America. As the President said in a recent radio address: "[W]e are fighting terrorists in Iraq so that we will not have to face them and fight them in the streets of our own cities. " When will someone say to the President, and anybody else who makes that argument, that their claim is just not right? The war is in the streets of our own cities, at least in the places which have sent sons and daughters to serve in the military. Just last week, I read of a soldier from a town adjacent to mine. An African-American husband and father, a son and a grandson. As described in the local paper (link):
Army Spec. Simeon Hunte, five months in Iraq, was wearing down. Friends had been injured and killed in guerrilla attacks, he wrote. The country's withering heat sapped energy and morale. Most importantly, the letter said, he missed his wife and daughter and the newborn son, Simeon Jr., he hadn't yet seen.So, when someone says that we are fighting there, to keep the war away from here, tell them that the war is here. It is here for each and every family with a loved one put in harm's way. It is here for each and every person with a friend, a colleague, or a neighbor now assigned to duty in Iraq. The war is most assuredly here for the grandparents, parents, and spouses who have to bury someone such as Specialist Simeon Hunte, who just wanted to make a better life for himself.
"He was getting depressed," Shirley Vigilance, Hunte's grandmother, said yesterday. "He said he didn't know how much more he could take. He wanted to come home so badly.
"And now he's coming home in a body bag."
Shirley and Andrew Vigilance said their grandson grew up on South 14th Street in Newark, graduated from public high school and attended Montclair State University, though he did not graduate.
He joined the army in 2001, hopeful the service could help him earn enough financial assistance to fund his ultimate goal.
"Since he was this high," Shirley Vigilance said, holding her hand at her waist, "he always wanted to be a doctor. He said it didn't matter how many years it took him."
On South 14th Street, neighbors recalled Hunte as an intelligent, polite teen, one of three siblings. Hunte has an older sister and an 11-year-old brother, Danny ...