With the unveiling of the new WWII memorial and the 60th anniversary of D-Day, my attention has been drawn again to the sacrifices made by American soldiers in WWII. Never before or since has America been involved in a more necessary and heroic enterprise. When I hear my children’s French grandfather describe his childhood in Annemasse under Nazi occupation, I try to explain to the kids what it meant to Europeans when Americans stormed the beaches on D-Day. In fact, my two oldest children are at Normandy today, June 6, with their grandparents. I hope that they return home with a deeply personal understanding of the bravery of the Americans who fought on that day and every day of the war.

But it makes me sad to see the nearly 4,000 soldiers being deployed to Iraq from East Tennessee this week. Their willingness to serve and their bravery are unquestionable. In this way, they are like those who fought in WWII. But their mission is far less clear, and that makes me angry on their behalf. Like most Americans (even those of us of a liberal stripe), I fully supported sending troops in to take out the Taliban in Afghanistan, but I still feel betrayed by the way Americans’ willingness to do what was necessary to root out Al Qaeda was manipulated to get us into a war in Iraq. I struggle with how to demonstrate the proper respect for and support of my neighbors who will soon be on the ground in Iraq even as I believe their sacrifices are being made in pursuit of a Bush foreign policy that will bear bitter fruit in coming decades – the decades during which my sons and daughter will come of age.

I want my children to believe – as I do – that there are things in life worth dying for. But I also want them to know that there are other things that aren’t. And I want them to grow up with American leadership that knows the difference.

Elliot, age 6, with his grandpere, Jean Pierre Granju Posted by Hello