Christian Wilson Brings the War Home

September 11, 2007

In the middle of my first year of teaching in Chapel Hill, over 16 years ago, a family moved into an apartment near Vicki and me, and the two kids came to my middle school. Christian Wilson was a little goofy, very funny, and had a very kind heart. After he finished at Chapel Hill High I'd see him at a nearby mall where he was working security. He always wanted to chat and was always upbeat. Not every kid looks back on eighth grade fondly, and some of my former students look the other way when they see me because the person they are does not much like the person they were then. Others are like Christian–always happy in their own skin, always happy to see a former teacher.

Last night we got back from a terrific weekend in DC–more on that later–and there was a teaser in a section of the Sunday paper that said a soldier from Chapel Hill had been killed in Iraq. It was Christian, now 30 and a highly decorated six-year veteran who had been in Iraq for over a year. As this story mentions, he just wanted to come home for a couple of weeks at the beach. He won't get to. His story–his commitment, his dedication–should be more than a line in the New York Times.

And now I hate this war in a whole new way. For years I've hated it on principle, on politics, and in my head. Now I hate it in my gut, and in my heart.

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