Wednesday letters: War takes toll even after it ends

August 21, 2013 

— We like to think that wars end, but they don’t end for everybody. War doesn’t end for those who have nightmares of its carnage. It doesn’t end for those who put on artificial limbs every day. It doesn’t end for those who never will see loved ones again: mothers, fathers, wives and sweethearts; children who will live the rest of their lives without a mother or father.

War never ends for the forgotten veterans whose lives were destroyed by the experience of combat, who are homeless and unemployable. It is relived every day.

My wife and I had fathers who were career military and were away for extended periods. Our mothers experienced stress, loneliness and separation. They willingly did so out of a sense of duty.

It was their duty not to complain. It was their duty to always be reassuring, to take care of everything at home, and when their husbands returned home, it was duty that made them unfailingly welcome. It was the same duty that made our troops endure hardship and face danger.

These duty-bound spouses received no accolades, no medals, no parades; they expected none. Doing one’s duty is its own reward, but the sacrifice of spouses and children of the military needs to be counted in the cost of war.

Verne Pulling


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