Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

39° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Meal comforts worried friends

Education senior Elyssa Fox said she does not know her cousin’s exact location — only that he is serving in the war with Iraq as a member of the Naval Reserves.

Fox said she receives an e-mail from his family about once a month telling her that he is alright.

“We only know if he’s alive from letter-to-letter,” Fox said. “I don’t think he’s able to contact us.”

Fox said her cousin is in his 40s and has children. Since the war began, Fox said she has tried to stay away from the news coverage and war images.

“I try to avoid the paper and not turn on the radio or TV,” Fox said. “It’s everywhere.”

Fox was one of nine students, faculty members, and staff with loved ones in the armed forces who gathered Monday night for a Yellow Ribbon Dinner, sponsored by the Office of the University Chaplains.

“This program is not a political effort,” said Erica Brown, assistant university chaplain. “It is to give an opportunity to connect with each other and feel the support of the community.”

Everyone in attendance seemed to agree that their lives have not been the same since the war began.

Francey Wattman, a Weinberg senior, said she always checks the faces in war footage for her good friend from high school who is serving overseas. Wattman heard from her friend two weeks ago via e-mail and said he described his location as “close to the heat.”

“I think about him every day — a lot,” Wattman said. “I think (with) having a loved one over there, you want peace.”

Many of those at the dinner emphasized that being against the war does not have to mean being against the troops.

“Most people are supporting the troops,” Fox said, “but want them to come home.”

The dinner was planned after a suggestion by Tanya Tickel, a fourth-year McCormick graduate student. Tickel said she overheard a student discussing how she was having a difficult time dealing with her father being gone and fighting in Iraq.

“I had been doing the antiwar stuff,” Tickel said. “I was thinking some of the things I’d been doing might have hurt her.”

Tickel said she still will participate in antiwar activities but that people should be careful about what they say.

“I would like to temper our points of view, so we don’t sound hateful,” Tickel said.

The Chaplain’s Office plans to sponsor similar events in the future. Chaplain Kay Reeb, who came to Northwestern for the dinner from the North Shore’s Great Lakes Naval Training Center, said she knows firsthand how hard it is for military families in times of war.

“A lot of folks are saying all the things they thought they had forever to say,” Reeb said. “Sometimes you get closer to each other even though you’re physically apart.”

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Meal comforts worried friends