First and foremost Mom, I love you. My best wishes to the rest of the family, I miss them dearly, but running was my only alternative to the draft.
We crossed the Canadian border last night at approximately midnight, and let me tell you, nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to get involved in. I’ve never been so scared in my entire life, and it seems the harder I try to forget the war, the more and more I am reminded of what I am running from.
It frightens me, but at the same time, I know that this is what I must do. I cannot fight in this war; I’m just too damned scared. I hope Father can forgive me one day, as I never meant to bring shame to the family, nor did I ever intend to be viewed as a coward. I don’t know what to do.
The farther I get from home, the more scared I become. I ask you Mom, when the war is over, will I have a home to return to? The country looks down on weak people, but is it really weak to object to the senseless violence and killing? I really do not know anymore Mom.
I can tell you this, however, being in a foreign place with no home, no food, no friends and no one to talk to, has made me realize now what I have taken for granted. Never before have I longed to be woken up by Father’s incessant horse-like snoring, or nagged by you to clean my room. I hold on dearly to these once minor inconveniences, as they are now all that I have left of home. With nothing to do to kill time, I reflect on all I have accomplished in my lifetime, and all that I wish to still accomplish. Hopefully I will one day be able to return to a normal lifestyle, one without the fear.
Being without my life anymore, I realize why people are willing to fight and die for what they believe. I also realize just what was won and lost in previous wars: my freedom. Just as I took everything for granted, I have also taken my freedom for granted, and now I am forced to run, constantly being hounded like a dog. Ironically, it took my freedom being robbed from me by the same institution that fought for it, to make me realize what freedom truly is.
I have no doubt in my mind that war is an extremely violent form of communication, but at the same time I recognize the reasons behind this war. However, I am still too scared to fight, to kill or be killed.
When faced with all of the hatred and violence that has encompassed the world, I can’t help but feel sick. Why, Mom, do we insist on claiming to be the dominant species of the world, only to turn and destroy one another? Why do we learn to hate one another rather than realize our ability to communicate, which is a gift. I don’t understand anymore Mom.
Things were so much easier before the war, before the terrorism and before I realized how much I am afraid. Maybe that’s why I spent so much time in my room alone Mom. Maybe that’s why I was never able to handle being the social acolyte that my brother was, maybe that’s why I am running.
As much as I would like to claim that my objection to this war comes from a deeply founded opinion about the United States’ foreign policy, or some belief that this war could have been avoided, I cannot. What it comes down to is the self-realization that I am afraid. Afraid of being both the man targeted in the sights, and the man ready to pull the trigger.
Your loving son,
Tom Galaraga, a senior journalism major, is managing editor of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.