June 26, 2019

Mom’s mixed feelings

My son, Matthew Holden, is a platoon leader and first lieutenant for the 814th Engineer Company in Iraq. He is an avid reader and an interesting writer who sends newsletters home each month to family and friends.

It is difficult being a military mom. At times I feel like a stranger in my own country. Not too many months ago I was at a dinner when someone asked me where Matt was. When I said he was in Iraq, I could feel the disapproval. Another person who had no idea I had a son in the military whispered to me at a social gathering that she would “feel like a failure” if she had a son or daughter in the military. I wondered if these people had ever known anyone who served in the military.

Then there are those who assume I am for this war. I opposed the war from the beginning. In the early days of the war, I stopped to talk with a friend at a peace vigil. A man about 20 years old drove by and gave me the finger, never imaging I was the mother of a young soldier. Both sides sicken me – the ones who want to stay there as long as it’s not their children and the others who feel above families who have someone in the military.

I believe everyone has a right to express themselves, whether it’s Stephen King or the person down the street.

Maybe as a country we need to focus on how we are going to help these young soldiers who have been deployed over and over. They are going to need us.

Maureen Walsh


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