Thursday, September 28, 2006
Merideth Howard of Waukesha, Wisconsin, joined the Army Reserves in 1988. It was her way of doing something for her country. She planned to retire in 2008 after twenty years' service. Unbelievably, she was called up for active duty in December 2005. Many questioned why a woman her age would be called to active duty and sent to the Middle East. Howard didn't question; she just went and did the job she was sent to do. Friends and family say she knew the risks -- and accepted them as her patriotic duty. Her job? Turret gunner in the Army Reserve's 405th Civil Affairs Battalion in Afghanistan.
She was killed, along with Staff Sgt. Robert Paul, 43, of The Dalles, Oregon, in Afghanistan on September 8th when a car bomber slammed into her vehicle.
She was 52 years old.
Howard may not have questioned her deployment, but I do. It's bad enough that young American men and women are losing their lives in the Iraq War, but where on earth is the dire necessity of sending ladies old enough to be grandmothers off to fight? It doesn't matter that she was a young-at-heart woman of middle age. So am I, but I sure as heck don't want to have to think about going to war at my age. There's just no sense in imposing what amounts to the draft on middle-aged women OR men. At least, I don't think so. Am I in the minority or the majority on this issue?