We got emails boycotting trade with France because of their Iraq intransigence. We heard constantly about the war, which seemed more difficult than early projections had forecast. 'Friendly fire' deaths, downed helicopters, sandstorms, and questions about Rumsfeld and proper Army size brewed dismal clouds darkening daily activity. Some friends emailed about feelings, mostly of anxiety, and middle eastern intellectuals despaired that hatred for America would grow, even if the war succeeded. As coalition forces moved toward control, the public grew calmer and ridiculed inane “Freedom Fries.”
I received color slides of 11 French cemeteries, maintained by the US, lined with “crosses, row on row” and tallies of young Americans whose last trip involved no tourism: Normandy 10,944: Suresnes, 998; St. Michiel, 4437; Meuse-Argonne, 15,200; Lorraine, 10,933. All 66,033 men were accounted for. Today the grass is neatly mowed below Old Glory. I hope to visit someday.
Nearly everyone was not eager for war, but once troops were engaged, backed the forces wholeheartedly. A few people continued on peace marches, and lots of movie stars and celebs protested, although they know nothing more than you or I. So far, we have wreckage but no weapons of mass destruction. The mostly young people in service have done a fine job, even if only one of them has a parent in the US House or Senate—I hate that enormous inequality! Looted museums, hospitals, banks, and utilities make rebuilding treacherous and imperil children for generations.
I draw the line with any American who publicly dissed the US while living in another country! Europe sat on its hands over Rwanda, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Even liberals admit that Saddam bathed his country in blood: the torture cells speak for themselves. I back the UN, but whose idea was it to name Libya (Libya!) to chair the Human Rghts committee? Why??
In the meantime, London parks were literally bursting with blooms, we had a most unusual spell of warm sunny days, and outside my kitchen and studio, white cherry blossoms filled our window panes with brilliant snowy clusters. Golden forsythia vied for attention. The roof garden and window boxes have come alive with color: Persephone has left Hades once again. Soon I was off to Nice with a friend and Mike joined us there from Estonia. After his meeting about anthrax, we all went to Monaco.
University of Texas women's and men's teams made it to the final four in basketball, but lost at the end. We were delighted to see them get that far, and thankful for the web to find out scores, a change from soccer coverage. “Crikey! ’S football an’ more football coverage ’ere, an’ cricket—wif bits o’ rugby, racin’ an’ tennis. ’S diffy-coolt, innit? Yeh?”
The London Times published statistics by the Economic and Social Research Council on over 17,000 marriages. Wait until you’re 25, be educated, and marry someone whose parents stayed married. Cohabitation before marriage increased divorce rates. I mailed the article to our bachelor Patrick. A few days later I visited the US to see grandchildren and paint with my Seven Across buddies. It’s important that the grands know who I am!