From a Military Kid – No, Brian Williams. This Isn’t ‘Beautiful’ [OPINION]
Brian Williams waxing lyrical about the beauty of weapons—what in the world is this? pic.twitter.com/3hoxCgCfP1
— Taniel (@Taniel) April 7, 2017
This isn't about politics. This is about personal experience. And this isn't the first time that Brian Williams has, or should, put his foot in his mouth.
After the missile attack on a Syrian airfield last week, Brian Williams broke into Rachel Maddow's show on MSNBC and waxed poetic about the stock video of missiles being launched from a Navy ship. He quoted Leonard Cohen's First We Take Manhattan, saying, "I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons."
This didn't sit well with me.
When I was 9-years-old, my dad, who was a chief in the Navy, was sent to the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Storm. He was stationed on the USNS Mercy, a Naval hospital ship. He was there from just after Christmas until March of 1991.
I was a child. I remember sitting on my mom's bed, asking her "where his ship is going?" I had seen the war on the news, but I didn't understand. And when she told me that his ship was going to the middle east, I cried. A lot.
For the next 3 1/2 months, we waited. We received a few random pay phone calls from different ports across the ocean from my dad, where he couldn't say much, but he could let us know he was okay.
It was 1991 - no internet, no Skype - just the nightly news. I remember sitting on our love seat next to the window in our living room, watching the news every night with my mom. This is what we saw, almost every night:
This is what I remember. And I was terrified. I didn't know where my dad was, or what he was doing. I remember crying a lot. Neighbors came over, family stayed with us, we were on the local news a few times.
None of that changed the fact that the most information I had about where my dad was, I got from videos like the one above.
I don't really talk about that time much, because I was so young and confused. I'm 34-years-old, and I'm still not sure how I feel about that time.
But I do know one thing: those missiles aren't beautiful. To me in 1991, the missiles meant my dad was in danger. And to military members, their families, and people in Syria, they also mean danger. And possible war.
When I saw the video of Brian Williams doting over the missile launch, I cried. And I looked at Pat and said, "This reminds me of when my dad was overseas." He said, "You should write about that."
So I am. I know that, nowadays, a parent being at war for a few months is nothing compared to the most recent conflicts, where troops are deployed for years at a time. Regardless, I know how it feels.
There's a lot of words to describe it - but "beautiful" is not one of them.