Family Ties

Yesterday I had lunch with my cousin, a Marine who has just returned from his third tour in Iraq. He has been in the corps for about four years. He is 21 and is finishing his commission in July. He starts college in the fall where there are as a rule less guns and insurgents. I'm glad he's back and that he's still alive.

Back in December, I started sending letters and packages. His two previous tours, I sent nothing and thought about him infrequently. When I went away to college, I lived for letters from people back home. I was lonely in a place where I knew no one and everything had changed. Can you imagine instead of going to college, going to war? And not just joining the Army, but joining the Marines in war time and being shipped off at 18 to start a war in Iraq. He was there for the beginning. He and two other guys from his unit were on the cover of the New York Times in 2003. I saved a copy, but I never wrote him to tell him I had seen it. Every time I thought about him, I thought about writing to him, but I never did.

Why is it so hard to do good things that we know we should do - that we want to do? Why is it so hard to think about other people? I really like writing letters. I really like my cousin. Why did it take four years to get my act together? What was I doing that was so important?
He's back now. His girlfriend lives in New York. He was here visiting her this week. I met her yesterday at lunch. He will probably be back to visit her regularly. It will be good to see him more once in a while. He'll also be a freshman in the fall. Maybe now that I've started, I will keep writing him and sending him the occasional care package. I really did like getting letters in college. I still like getting letters. Everyone does.


Anonymous another family tie said...

I'm glad he's back and still alive, too.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous guess who said...

Let's all write more letters. We are losing our letter-writing ability. You're right -- everyone enjoys getting a letter.

9:20 PM  

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