Prayer For Her Two Children
March 24, 2003
By Santiago Bonilla
While the news reported the first North American losses and bombs
continued to fall in Iraq for the fifth consecutive day, in New
York, the Dominican Consuelo Hernandez Polanco said prayers for
her two sons that are in the war.
Jason Polanco, 20, is a member of a Marine Infantry Battalion.
He signed a contract for four years and was sent to Kuwait last
January. His mother thinks that now, he could be fighting in Iraq.
They always liked the military life, but I dont think
that they would like to kill people. I think that this experience
will change their perspective on life, the mother said sadly.
My two sons are at war and I am emotionally destroyed. I
did everything possible so that they would not join the army but
they did not listen to me, Polanco said. Jason graduated from
high school on June 28, 2000 and on July 10 of that year he signed
up with the military, Polanco said.
Polanco indicated that her life has changed dramatically; she can
hardly sleep, is taking tranquilizers and wakes up each day to pray
for her two sons.
While he went in the boat that brought him to Kuwait we communicated
by email, but after he arrived at the port he hasnt communicated.
Milagros Nieves, Jasons girlfriend, was the last to talk to
Jason on the phone. He said that as soon as he gets back they will
get married, said the mother. Her other son, Eric, who is
25 years old, joined the US army infantry in August of 1999. This
was his dream, from when he started talking he always wanted to
go to the army, he asked me to send him to a military academy.
It is very difficult. I have three different feelings, as
a citizen whose country is at war, and the other two of pain and
sadness about each child. My heart is divided in three. I am against
this war. I dont think it is worth losing a child for something
that can be solved peacefully. Polanco now is living alone
in a Yonkers apartment, hoping to have her sons at home as soon
I cant work, because my mind is clouded, I go out to
the street to go for a walk and sometimes I get lost. I cant
stop watching television. It is like a nightmare. I want to watch
television but at the same time I am afraid to. I get confused.
My biggest fear is that one of my sons will be killed or taken prisoner,
Polanco, the soldiers father Nicolas Polanco, family members
and friends have all come together recently to pray together.
The uncertainty is the worst. I dont know what the
future holds, but peace will not return to us, there are many people
who are angry and full of pain, but Bush does not listen. Everything
is possible, who knows if there will be suicides or fanatics that
fly into Times Square, said Polanco.
For the Mexican American war veteran Barry Romo, who was 19 when
he went to the Vietnam War, the US war on Iraq, and the bombing,
is unjustifiable. When I went into the army I was for the
war, all of the young people in my neighborhood signed up and my
father was a veteran of the Second World War. But my opinion changed
when I had to kill people that I didnt know and when I had
to bring the body of my cousin, who died in combat, back home to
California, said Romo, who was given a Bronze Star for his
bravery in Vietnam.
Romo, who was wounded during the Vietnam War, said that his enthusiasm
for US military actions was affected by seeing that many of those
who fought and died in combat were poor people, many of them minorities.
Translated from Spanish by Jonathan Charnay
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