A few months ago one of the bloggers I read (I wish I could remember who!) mentioned that she was taking part in the Mother's Day Project. The goal of the project is to draw attention to the human cost of the Iraq War, specifically the women who have lost their lives serving as part of the coalition forces in the war. Participants in the project are sent the name of a woman who has been killed in the war on a muslin square. They're encouraged to research this woman and then embroider the name onto the square, return it to the Project, and write about it in a letter or journal or blog. All of the embroidered names are being combined into a type of collage which will most likely be a part of a travelling exhibit.
As soon as I heard about this project I wanted to be a part of it and received the name of my soldier very shortly after I emailed to join in.
Lieutenant Corporal Sarah Holmes served in the postal service of the British Army. She was injured while delivering mail in Qatar on October 3, 2007 and died from her injuries just a few days before her tour was over. She was 26. Sarah had joined the British Army at the age of sixteen and had served in Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia, Kenya, Iraq and Poland previously. She left behind her parents and a brother.
Now no matter what you may think about this war, whether you think it's right or wrong, too short or too long, that we've spent too much money or not enough, I'm sure most people would agree that even one life lost is a life too many. When the war first started the stories about the war on t.v. just didn't show me the reality of it- it was almost like I was watching a movie or something, like the things they were showing might not be real, or they were so far away that they didn't really affect me. I would click on the cnn.com headlines and read a news report here and there but it was never personal.
In the past couple of years though I've had several friends in the Air Force who have done tours of Iraq and Afghanistan and who have sent me emails with photos and descriptions of the things they are seeing and the people they've met. And that's made this war more real for me than it would be if I was still solely relying on the media for my information.
For me, participating in this project was another step towards understanding more about what has been going on. Researching the life of Sarah Holmes, embroidering the name of a woman who lost her life, a woman who was younger than me, who should have been at home, enjoying her time with her friends and her family, starting her career, made it even more real, and even more personal. In another time or another place, she could have been me. I could have been her. I've been fortunate that all of my friends have come back from their tours in one piece, they've certainly been changed by their experiences, but they are whole and healthy. I have not lost any loved ones to this war, or to any other, unlike Sarah's parents, who have lost their only daughter.
So to all of the people who have given their lives in war- Thank You.
To all of the men and women who are currently serving our country- Thank You.
To all of the people who have lost family members who fought for our Freedom- Thank You.
You have all made, and are still making, the ultimate sacrifice.