Letters to the Editor

War: Death is horrible no matter where you are

Last week I ran into a man (Mike) who was our neighbor in Burien and who played with our eldest son when they were just boys. Mike is now retired Navy and said, “Although I don’t agree with Jack, I support his right to protest.” (Jack has been on the corner of Highway 20 and Main Street in Coupeville protesting war with Iraq.)

We had a long conversation. I was reminded of a traumatic event that we were all involved in: In 1964, Goldwater was running for president and everyone in our neighborhood supported his position for war against Vietnam except Jack and I.

Our home was just above 400-plus acres of woods leading down to the beach; what is now a beautiful county park. One early fall day two 11-year-old boys were playing in the woods just yards from our house when they found an old rag stuffed into the yoke of a tree. Mike reminded me that some older boys had built a rocket and then were afraid to fire it and so they just left it there, maybe waiting to build their courage for another day.

One of the two younger boys pulled on that rag and lost his life. The second boy was seriously wounded. In his panic and pain, he ran away from the way home. Emergency services was called and it took a long time for them to find the wounded boy. He did survive — physically.

The entire neighborhood was horrified. They gathered in groups and talked about how awful this was. These were the same people who were able somehow in their minds to justify war against an innocent people. I remember very clearly thinking that the death of one child and the wounding of another was just as horrifying on the other side of the world as it was in our white, middle class neighborhood just south of Seattle.

That was a day I shall never forget.

Sue Tingstad


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