Thurman P. Woodfork


Thurman P. Woodfork: Parent and ChildThe concern of mothers and fathers
for sons and daughters at war,
is something some of the population
seems to have little compassion for.

“They’re slow to send their heart’s delight
to defend the homeland’s shores?
Don’t they know their child couldn’t fight
for any more noble a cause?”

“It is my country, right or wrong,”
comes the proud, exultant cry.
“How can they deny their precious
child this glorious chance to die?”

What must parents feel when sending their child off to war? I can’t imagine the intense, conflicting emotions that must pass through their minds.

Here is this child, this precious treasure that they have nurtured and cared for since infancy. An integral part of their lives, this very unique person they have guided, guarded and loved for so many years, is now moving on to what might be a grisly end or perhaps grave injury.

Maybe letters, calls, videos – all communication – will suddenly cease, and they will never see or hear from this beloved child ever again. They’re left to wonder what became of their child for the rest of their lives. What a cheery thought to contemplate at any time.

And yet, they must feel some measure of pride along with the fear and trepidation. This child standing before them is about to begin a reversal of roles of sorts – now, they are poised to become the protector, the barrier against harm to home and country. So the parents cloak their fear and project their pride.

Even if the child returns apparently whole and healthy in body, what maladies may linger inside, incubating and eating away undetected? What demons may have slipped into the psyche, to turn innermost thoughts into living hell?

Hopefully, he – or she – will be among those who weather this ultimate of life-altering experiences relatively unscathed and return to pick up their lives where they left off. God willing, they will have a new maturity and insight that will stand them in good stead through the years to come.

Many others have passed through the flames to come out the other side whole and intact in mind and body. I would imagine that each parent is fervently praying that their child will be counted among that number.

Finally, and not to be forgotten, what of the children who have to watch their parents go off to war? What terrible images and unspoken fears, fueled by movies and TV, must come to live in their young and fertile imaginations? One can only wonder.