Coast Residents Touched By War - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

12/03/03

Coast Residents Touched By War

News of war casualties, extended deployments and plans to call up more troops all increase the worry for those families who have loved ones serving overseas.

The usual joy of the holiday season can also add to their apprehension and concern.

WLOX News talked about the worries of war with the lunch crowd at Wednesday's Kiwanis Pancake Day.

Not surprisingly, most people we spoke with have some personal connection with the war. Many have friends or family overseas, while others relate today's battles to their own military service.

The vast majority profess patriotism and support for the president. But the lingering war also prompts questions and concern.

Nearly everyone in the lunch time crowd at the Kiwanis Pancake Day had some connection to the war. Those who don't have family members in the military, may have friends overseas or know someone who does.

As he flipped pancakes at the griddle, Bryan Gooch shared stories about several close friends who've just returned from combat.

"They were on the front line. Been over there for six months working hard. Actually, some of them were already out. They've enlisted just to go back over there. So, it was really patriotic of them. I'm really proud of them," he said.

Gooch says he often prays for his friends in harms way. So does Father Louie Lohan, who has many parishioners touched by the war.

"What I pray for, is I pray for the people who are deployed in the cause of peace. I think they're working for peace, rather than working for war. So, I go to God with that notion, that idea, Lord may there be peace. And bless our peace keepers and our peace workers," said Father Lohan.

Many we talked with wonder about when this war might end. There are concerns is may drag on indefinitely.

Latrice Bush is among those.

"I have hopes that it doesn't. I can see it going on for a little while longer. Until they get some type of understanding over there," she explained.

Zelma Douglas pondered that question as she worked in the pancake serving line. Like many others who remember an earlier conflict, she has fears of another Vietnam.

"I think I'm really upset that there's so many of our boys getting killed over there. I go along with our president and anything he does. But I think something should be done to stop it. We don't want it to drag out to be another Vietnam," said Douglas.

Many we talked with shared Zelma Douglas's concern. They support the troops and the president, but worry that the conflict could continue for many more months or even years.

By Steve Phillips

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