> WIFE'S REQUEST
> I was sitting alone in one of those loud, casual steak houses that you find
> all over the country. You know the type--a bucket of peanuts on every table,
> shells littering the floor, and a bunch of perky college kids racing around
> with long neck beers and sizzling platters.
> Taking a sip of my iced tea, I studied the crowd over the rim of my glass.
> My gaze lingered on a group enjoying their meal. They wore no uniform to
> identify their branch of service, but they were definitely "military:" clean
> shaven, cropped haircut, and that "squared away" look that comes with pride.
> Smiling sadly, I glanced across my table to the empty seat where my husband
> usually sat. It had only been a few months since we sat in this very booth,
> talking about his upcoming deployment to the Middle East . That was when he
> made me promise to get a sitter for the kids, come back to this restaurant
> once a month and treat myself to a nice steak. In turn he would treasure the
> thought of me being here, thinking about him until he returned home.
> I fingered the little flag pin I constantly wear and wondered where he was
> at this very moment. Was he safe and warm? Was his cold any better? Were my
> letters getting through to him?
> As I pondered these thoughts, high pitched female voices from the next booth
> broke into my thoughts. "I don't know what Bush is thinking about. Invading
> Iraq . You'd think that man would learn from his old man's mistakes. Good
> Lord. What an idiot! I can't believe he is even in office. You do know, he
> stole the election."
> I cut into my steak and tried to ignore them as they began an endless tirade
> running down our president.
> I thought about the last night I spent with my husband, as he prepared to
> deploy. He had just returned from getting his smallpox and anthrax shots.
> The image of him standing in our kitchen packing his gas mask still gives me
> Once again the women's voices invaded my thoughts.
> "It's all about oil, you know. Our soldiers will go in and rape and steal
> all the oil they can in the name of 'freedom'. Hmmm! I wonder how many
> innocent people they'll kill without giving it a thought. It's pure greed,
> you know."
> My chest tightened as I stared at my wedding ring. I could still see how
> handsome my husband looked in his "mess dress" the day he slipped it on my
> finger I wondered what he was wearing now. Probably his desert uniform,
> affectionately dubbed "coffee stains" with a heavy bulletproof vest over it.
> "You know, we should just leave Iraq alone. I don't think they are hiding
> any weapons. In fact, I bet it's all a big act just to increase the
> president's popularity. That's all it is, padding the military budget at the
> expense of our social security and education. And, you know what else? We're
> just asking for another 9-11. I can't say when it happens again that we
> didn't deserve it."
> Their words brought to mind the war protesters I had watched gathering
> outside our base. Did no one even appreciate the sacrifice of brave men and
> women, who l ea ve their hom es and family to ensure our freedom? Do they even
> know what "freedom" is?
> I glanced at the table where the young men were sitting, and saw their
> courageous faces change. They had stopped eating and looked at each other
> dejectedly, listening to the women talking.
> "Well, I, for one, think it's just deplorable to invade Iraq , and I am
> certainly sick of our tax dollars going to train professional baby-killers
> we call a military."
> Professional baby-killers. I thought about what a wonderful father my
> husband is, and of how long it would be before he would see our children
> That's it! Indignation rose up inside me. Normally reserved, prid e in my
> husband gave me a brassy boldness I never realized I had. Tonight one voice
> will answer on behalf of our military, and let her pride in our troops be
> Sliding out of my booth, I walked around to the adjoining booth and placed
> my hands flat on their table. Lowering myself to eye level with them,
> smiling I said, "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation. You see, I'm
> sitting here trying to enjoy my dinner alone. And, do you know why? Because
> my husband, whom I love with all my heart, is halfway around the world
> defending your right to say rotten things about him."
> "Yes, you have the right to your opinion, and what you think is none of my
> business. However, what you say in public is something else, and I will not
> sit by and listen to you ridicule MY country, MY president, MY husband, and
> all the other fine American men and women who put their lives on the line,
> just so you can have the "freedom" to complain. Freedom is an expensive
> commodity, ladi es. Don't let your actions cheapen it."
> I must have been louder than I meant to be, because the manager came over to
> inquire if everything was all right
> "Yes, thank you," I replied.
> Then, turning back to the women, I said, "Enjoy the rest of your meal."
> As I returned to my booth applause broke out. I was embarrassed for making a
> scene, and went back to my half eaten steak. The women picked up their check
> and scurried away.
> After finishing my meal, and while waiting for my check, the manager
> returned with a huge apple cobbler ala mode. "Compliments of those
> soldiers," he said. He also smiled and said the ladies tried to pay for my
> dinner, but that another couple had beaten them to it.
> When I asked who, the manager said they had already left, but that the
> gentleman was a veteran, and wanted to take care of the wife of "one of our
> With a lump in my throat, I gratefully turned to the soldiers and thanked
> them for the cobbler. Grinning from ear to ear, they came over and
> surrounded the booth.
> "We just wanted to thank you, ma'am. You know we can't get into
> confrontations with civilians, so we appreciate what you did."
> As I drove home, for the first time since my husband's deployment, I didn't
> feel quite so alone. My heart was filled with the warmth of the other diners
> who stopped by my table, to relate how they, too, were proud of my husband,
> and would keep him in their prayers.
> I knew their flags would fly a little higher the next day. Perhaps they
> would look for more tangible ways to show their pride in our country, and
> the military that protect her. And maybe, just maybe, the two women who were
> railing against our country would pause for a minute to appreciate all the
> freedom America offers, and the price it pays to maintain its free dom.
> As for me, I have learned that one voice CAN make a difference.
> Maybe the next time protesters gather outside the gates of the base where I
> live, I will proudly stand on the opposite side with a sign of my own. It
> will simply say, "Thank You!"
> To those who fought for our nation, freedom has a flavor the protected will
> never know.
> GOD BLESS AMERICA !
> Please pray for God's protection of our troops and HIS wisdom for their
> commanders. Pass this on to as many as you think will respond.