Day by Day

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Visiting Iraq

I found this at Sgt. Stryker's place.


When I told friends about my pilgrimage to Iraq to thank the U.S. troops, reaction was underwhelming at best.

Some were blunt. "Why are you going there?" They could not understand why it was important for me, a 9/11 widow, to express my support for the men and women stationed today in the Gulf.

But the reason seemed clear to me: 200,000 troops have been sent halfway around the world to stabilize the kind of culture that breeds terrorists like those who I believe began World War III on Sept. 11, 2001. Reaction was so politely negative that I began to doubt my role on the first USO/Tribeca Institute tour into newly occupied Iraq where, on average, a soldier a day is killed.

Besides, with Robert De Niro, Kid Rock, Rebecca and John Stamos, Wayne Newton, Gary Sinise, and Lee Ann Womack, who needed me?

Did they really want to hear about my husband, Neil Levin, who went to work as director of the New York Port Authority on Sept.11 and never came home? How would they relate to the two others traveling with me: Ginny Bauer, a New Jersey homemaker and the mother of three who lost her husband, David; and former Marine Jon Vigiano, who lost his only sons, Jon, a firefighter and Joe, a policeman.


A note of thanks to those who serve

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