July 19, 2006

It's About the Babies

I am feeling for those American families in Lebanon right now. I cannot imagine how nervous they are. On the front page of our newspaper today was a picture of a Marine helping a woman with her two small children. (The link is here, click on Wednesday, but will only be good for a short while. It’s a PDF file of the front page of our paper.) Each child was wearing some sort of helmet and Marine green life preserver. Cute as a bug the forward child was… it made me want to be able to reach into the newspaper and smooch their cheeks.

Their Mother? Looking calm and strong, yet concerned, following directions, I thought to myself, “Please God take care of this woman, this Marine, and those babies.” The babies. The children are the ones I worry for most. We as adults make our decisions, and it is the children that endure them.

Winter of 1979, we had just been told we had 30 days to leave Taiwan. My Dad was doing strategic war gaming for the Taiwanese military, President Carter had just broken relations with the country and the military was being pulled out. Police escorts to our schools and for TGOO when he made his way to work. Demonstrations throughout downtown Taipei and in front of the American neighborhoods were the norm.

I was never afraid. My parents were the epitome of cool, calm and collected. They methodically went through the house, got rid of things, made lists for movers, got us packed up and… we left. One minute we were celebrating Christmas and the next minute Mom had us packed up and living in a hotel, awaiting word as to TGOO’s next duty station. My folks had made back up plans for us kids to live with my Aunt for a year (the one I just visited) should we have needed to. She had us ready to be enrolled in her schools and had made the proper accommodations to take in three military children.

I was never afraid. We felt certain our house had been bugged. We didn’t know where we were going or if it would have to be expedited. My Mom and TGOO had it under control.

Instead, what I thought was… Thank God we do not live in Iran. The fall of the Shah was at the same time and those Americans had 24 hours to pick up their stuff and leave. Suitcases were packed and their belongings left behind.

Twenty four hours.

We got thirty days.

We were lucky.

I feel for the Americans evacuating. Really I feel for the Americans with children. I cannot imagine how scary it is for them. I pray for their safety. I pray for the children. But they too have been lucky. They are evacuating in a week. They didn’t have that kind of time almost 30 years ago in Iran. At least not that I remember.

Posted by Boudicca at July 19, 2006 09:19 PM | TrackBack

Just had a twilight moment.

As I was reading the description and thinking back to that time, I remembered a friend of mine. She was married to a member of the Shah's family and was a part of that escape. I knew it was around the same time frame. Her story chills my blood.

But I'm with you. I just keep thinkin' of those babies. But I also know they are doin' all they can to get them out of there.

Posted by: Tammi at July 19, 2006 09:26 PM

Yes, God be with those parents so they can be/act the way their kids need them to.

Posted by: Mrs_Who at July 20, 2006 11:41 AM

Ditto what Mrs. Who said. And Kudos to our guys in uniform getting then=m the hell outta there...

Posted by: Richmond at July 20, 2006 01:47 PM

I was in Turkey when the six day war broke out. The dependents were getting ready to evacuate Turkey when a stand down was called. Sweetthing allowed she was not goin no gotdam place. We were in the process of adopting a three year old Turk boy..the court procedings had been finalized but were still waiting on a passport for him as well as an American Visa. We were informed tough do do that sweetthing had to go and leave the baby..good thing push didn't come to shove because sweetthing can do some powerful shoving. She had already made arrangements with some Turk friends to stay in town until we could get the passport and visa and was planing on fling back to the states on her on. My CO was pissed..but then so was sweetthing and I.

Posted by: GUYK at July 20, 2006 07:02 PM

We lived in Taiwan? Wait...I do remember a lot of Chinese people.

Posted by: Toluca Nole at July 20, 2006 09:22 PM

It's amazing how many children were coming off the boats in Cyprus. I'm over 30, so my perception of Beirut had been skewed from what happened in the 80's. Turns out, it is a melting pot; an incredibly diverse and industrialized city...well, at least it was two weeks ago.

Posted by: PoliticalCritic at July 25, 2006 07:10 PM