Life During Wartime

By this spring, nearly 40,000 troops will have been deployed to Iraq from Fort Hood. For the military spouses left behind, time passes. They raise their kids, wait for breaking news, and pray whenever they hear a knock on the door.

This is a time of war—and yet these Americans did not die on a foreign field of battle,” President Obama said on Tuesday, at the memorial service for the thirteen soldiers who were gunned down at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009. “They were killed here, on American soil, in the heart of this great American community. It is this fact that makes the tragedy even more painful and even more incomprehensible.”

I visited this great American community in December of 2003, when a different mood prevailed. The 4th Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team—which hailed from Fort Hood—had just captured Saddam Hussein, and many people believed that the end of the war was near. Still, the fear of an unexpected knock on the door was palpable at the

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