‘I want to join the Army,” my husband said.
I was standing in our apartment in Philadelphia in 2005. It was around five o’clock in the afternoon, and the sun poured through the windows that overlooked the Walnut Street Theater, the Philadelphia Eagles stadium on the horizon. I wrapped my hand around a nearby chair as if I were holding one of my children’s hands on a busy street. My husband’s sentence had just obliterated my idea of the “perfect” family life. I guess everyone has a different image, but in my ideal world, the kids would sit at our kitchen table and do homework with their backpacks slumped on the floor and later set plates out for dinner. Formality didn’t exist in my vision — just four plates, forks haphazardly laid on them, with mismatched mugs.My 37-year-old husband was a lawyer — a graduate of Harvard Law School — who defended free-speech rights. As the war in Iraq raged unabated and the Army struggled to meet recruiting goals, he realized that he could no longer support the war in good conscience if he wasn’t willing to fight it. In the kitchen that day, I had a choice to make. Would I urge him to put our family over his sense of duty? That moment would shape our lives forever. But when I released my grip from that chair, I grabbed his hand. We’d walk through this together.
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