Monday, April 09, 2007

3 Long Years

The war in the Middle East may be 4 years old, but for those of us in Cincinnati, the past 3 have been torture. It's been exactly 3 years since Matt Maupin disappeared. So much has happened during those 3 years, none of which the Maupin family will ever share with Matt. They hold out hope that he's alive, but secretly, I believe they know he's gone. I no longer hold out hope that he will be found alive. Instead, I just hope that his remains are found so that the Maupin's can give him a proper burial.

I don't know Matt, nor do I know his family... but I have met his father, and his parents' house is only a mile from my ex-husband's house. It's right down the street from the school my oldest son attended last year. On a regular basis, we drive by the bus barn his mom works at, complete with yellow ribbons and signs made from red, white and blue drinking cups placed within the chainlink fence surrounding the bus yard. We go by Veteran's Park, where Matt's light shines, hoping to guide his way home someday. Every day I see Matt's presence in the form of yellow ribbons tied around mailboxes, fence posts, light poles, telephone poles, and trees. When I go to Joann's Fabric store and Michael's Crafts, I pass right by the headquarters of Yellow Ribbon Support Center. When you see a yellow ribbon magnet on a car in Cincinnati... you know it's in Matt's honor.

Every year I write about Matt. Every.Year. And every year, I hope the story will change- that some sign of him will be found and brought back to his parents. Every year.. the story never changes. Matt disappeared in Iraq 3 years ago today. Tonight, a thousand friends and family will gather to raise money for a scholarship fund in Matt's memory. I hope to be amongst those thousand tonight- we shall see. Even if I'm not, you can bet I'll be amongst the hundreds of thousands who remember Matt, and will never forget the honor and dignity his parents have shown over the past few years.

In a country half a world away with bombs exploding near
The soldiers who risk all today
are sons and daughters dear
Throughout our land the candles glow . . .
a million vigil flames
And in voices heard by God alone
the message is the same

We'll pray you home
wherever you may be
We'll pray you home
and for a world at peace
Look to the sky and know tonight
You never are alone
The stars are heaven's candlelight
As loved ones pray you home

We're praying you home, Matt. Wherever you may be.


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