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It's a mother's job to worry

May 11, 2003

Thousands upon thousands of mothers across the nation will spend today - Mother's Day - wondering where their sons and daughters are and, more importantly, if they are safe.

Over the past two months, The Herald-Mail asked for and received pictures and information about local men and women who are serving their country in military service in the war with Iraq and the war against terrorism.

The Herald-Mail has published information about more than 70 of those soldiers, sailors, marines, pilots and reservists.

It makes you realize that both wars are closer to home than an atlas would suggest.

There are families in our area who do not know where their sons or daughters, husbands, brothers, sisters or wives are at this moment. They have good reason to fear for their safety.

When we first asked readers to send us information about local military personnel, we thought we might receive a handful of pictures. They just kept coming.


Every morning in my newsroom mailbox or in my e-mail was information about young men and women who were barely out of high school.

I was sent information about family members who left jobs, children and spouses because their reserve unit was called to duty.

Still others sent information about career military men and women, also sent to faraway places.

We received information about men and women who serve aboard ships, drive trucks and tanks and fly planes. They carry guns, predict the weather, build roads and bridges, keep planes in the air and help the injured. They provide security, keep fellow troops supplied and make sure communication systems are working.

I have talked to many mothers in the Tri-State area who have children serving in the military. I called them with a question or they called me to see if the information about their child had been received.

They share a common emotion - pride. It is easy to hear in their voices.

Perhaps they also share another emotion - fear. I could sometimes hear that as well.

Fear for a child is an old emotion for a mother - any mother.

We fear for our children even before they are born.

We fret through the infant stages, fight our anxiety when they become toddlers and dread the day they are old enough to drive.

Even seeing our children reach adult status does not end the worry.

We worry about the person they will find to marry and then we worry they won't find anyone at all. We worry about the careers they pick and what the future will hold for them.

With every stage in our children's lives, a new fear comes, a new worry is born.

Believe me when I tell you a mother can, by her very nature, come up with enough to worry about without adding a war to the mix.

So on this day, from one mother to another, allow me to salute the mothers of active military. May your children be safe. May they come home soon.

And may your Mother's Day next year be worry-free.

Liz Thompson is city editor at The Herald-Mail. She can be contacted at 301-733-5131, extension 7682, or by e-mail at

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