Growing into society

I am part of the younger generation.

Some might say I look 12, act 4 and wish I was 35. But I’m 22, and in the past few weeks, I’ve grown up a little.

Before Sept. 11, the closest I ever came to knowing war was putting my Barbie dolls in the midst of my brothers’ G.I. Joes.

Now, a real war has struck. It’s struck us closer to home than it ever has before, and it’s happening in my lifetime.

I have to admit, I’m scared. I’m scared for our country, I’m scared for my military friends and I’m scared of the draft. It’s these fears that have forced me to grow up.

Five years ago, I would have rented a lot of movies and complained that the president was again interrupting my favorite television program. Now, I’ve grown up and I’ve grown interested.

Last week, my mom called during one of President Bush’s speeches. I hate to admit it, but I don’t think I heard a word she said. While not paying much attention to her, I did manage to catch what Bush was saying. Following his speech, I could have given you three or four verbatim quotes from our president.

Recognizing I was wasting my mother’s dime, I did apologize to her, and I think she understood. In fact, in the last minutes of the phone call (when I was paying attention to her) I think I sensed a little bit of pride that her daughter was growing up and becoming part of the American society.

I think back on my high school years and my experience with history classes. I just couldn’t get myself to focus on history. Everything seemed so long ago and so far out of reach.

In the past year or two, I’ve met a number of veterans that have helped bring a few of the battles to life. I’ve also seen some movies that have struck a chord of American pride.

But now, as I sit amidst a war in progress, so many more things make sense. I now understand why freedom is so important and why we fought so hard to get it. I now understand why veterans feel so passionately about the flag. And I understand that America will always pull together under that flag of freedom when we are threatened.

Knowing that we have such a strong country calms my fears. Yes, I still fear for my friends and for the potential of the draft.

After paying close attention to the coverage of the attack and the words of my politicians, my fears have been subdued.

The actions that our government is taking in this war against terrorism are not actions that will lead to hundreds of thousands of draftees losing their lives.

And they are not acons that will cause the terrorists fire back killing American citizens.

The Bush administration is using strategic actions meant to protect us and others from terrorism.

This is a war that’s more about intelligence than military strength. And our president knows that.

I have confidence that America will overcome this and other threats of terrorism.

It will not be a quick war, but we will win. And I’m glad that I’ve grown into a society where freedom is worth so much.