I was eight months pregnant when the Twin Towers were hit. I remember sitting numbly on the couch, watching the devastating images, rubbing my belly and telling my baby how sorry I was to be offering him a world in such chaos. Now, every night, Zander prays for the Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. He prays for their safety. He prays for their families. He prays for the fighting to be over. He has never known a time without war.
I was ten years old when news of the Gulf War filled the kitchen, relayed by tense reporters on the CBC. War existed only on the encyclopedia shelf and in conflict between fairy-tale princes and dragons. I had read a short novel; Polish Jews hiding in abandoned buildings, burning banisters for heat and eating horses that had been shot in the street. Abstract fiction until news flowed beneath radio static. And all I could think was that we didn't live near any horses and we were surely going to starve.
That night I crawled into my mothers bed, hugging her like a life-preserver. "Mommy, are we going to die?" Because every noise outside was Saddam Hussein cocking a pistol and every rumble of a semi on Highway 6 was a bomber plane taking aim at our house.
"No, honey, we're not going to die." And she explained how big the world was and how far away this was happening and how vast and wide the ocean was.
It still felt personal.
Zander is not afraid. He is completely confident in his Canadian safety bubble. He believes in our troops even though he has no idea what they're doing over there and I like to think that his innocent prayers will save lives and bring peace. So, if the war ends tomorrow, I will expect to find Obama on my door step, awarding Zander with the fifth ever Metal of Honor (for a Canadian) for conspicuous gallantry, intrepid prayer beyond the call of duty and for sticking flowers in the barrel of a gun.