Shortly before The Gulf War (1990 – 1991) or Operation Desert Storm as it was also called, mother decided she was going back to Israel. Now, as far as I can remember, she’d been in Indonesia off an on for quite a few years and then returned to the States. If you remember, problems in Iraq had been brewing for a while.
I was not in favor of mother running off to Israel right then. She was 68 and not getting any younger–although she might have disagreed.
She was staying with me at this time and suggested (!) that she take Justin with her.
“He’ll love it,” she said, her voice rising in that excited way she had. “He really will. Just ask him!”
No, I didn’t ask him. He was 15 at the time, and I wasn’t taking any chances he might say, “Yes.” I tried to explain about the situation in the Middle East (as if she didn’t know the ins-and-outs better than I did) and told her she was not taking my first born into what might become a full-fledged war!
Of course, I tried to stop her from going, also; but in a few weeks, she flew out. I think it was three days later that war was declared.
She called from the house she was staying in–one of those hostels. You know, the ones where young kids backpacking across the country or Europe would stay. Well, there was mom in the midst.
They’d all got their gas masks a day earlier, and she helped them put together a “safe room.” I think they sealed it with Saran Wrap!
Anyway, she called from the hallway right before they ran in and sealed the door.
“We’re going into the sealed room now,” she said, again in hr high, excited voice. “And we’ve got food and water. And our gas masks. We’ll be okay. The Lord is watching out for us. I told everyone here that God would keep us safe.” And then when I when I was trying to think how to respond, she stuttered something across the line.
“What?” I asked. My voice was louder than hers now because the connection seemed bad, and I didn’t want to lose it.
“The missiles are coming! You can hear them! I’ve got to go!” and she was off the phone and gone.
I stood there a long time, shocked and praying.
I watched the news for two days straight, praying more, until Frank made me turn it off.
Mother said later she was sure God had sent her there to help the people in that particular hostel. They knew nothing, she said, about getting ready for what was to come. No one had bothered to get a gas mask or to seal off a room as the government had told the citizens to do. And she was thrilled to be there to help them do that.
And God did keep them safe, although there were other casualties in the city. Still, I wonder what I’d have felt if Justin had been over there, too!
When Iraq invaded Kuwait, a 34-nation UN force led by the United States set forth to liberate them. Iraq’s response was to attack Israel. The Gulf War lasted 10 months.