Friendship, Bible verses lift spirits

by Kristy Raymond

Senior Emily Rouse cuts out all the positive articles she finds about the war and saves them in a scrapbook.

“I am going to show Jason (her husband in the marines) the articles when he comes home,” Rouse said. “We can show them to our kids someday too.”

Rouse and sophomore Amber Speck are just two of the women on campus who have husbands serving in the war.

Rouse met her husband, Jason, at camp when they were both 14 years old. Their parents drove them to a halfway meeting point on weekends so they could see each other. Amber Speck and her husband were best friends that became high school sweethearts.

Both Rouse and Speck’s husbands were marines stationed at Camp Pendleton in California, when they learned they would be shipped overseas. Both couples quickly married before they said their goodbyes.

“Amber and I can definitely relate,” Rouse said. “We have both been blessed by the friendship because we can actually relate to what the other person is going through, and we know how to comfort each other.”

The two women met in a support group Speck set up for students whose spouses were serving in the war.

“It really only has two people, but it rocks,” Speck said. “We have shared good books and powerful Bible verses that have lifted our spirits.”

Both Speck and Rouse have heard from their husbands since they went overseas, but since the war has started communication has been very limited.

“I did get one e-mail that said he was okay,” Rouse said. “He said that no one had fired at him directly. He’s in Baghdad now, but I don’t know what he’s doing, because he has to keep that confidential. He hears bombs dropping all the time around him.”

Speck’s last communication with her husband was a letter she received on March 19, 2003.

“I was told he’s in Baghdad now, helping to restore order,” Speck said. “They fixed the electricity and sewage in the city and are acting as police. On Saturday, April 12, Iraq’s top chemical weapons sergeant surrendered to his company.

Both women agree that the biggest challenge they face each day is just knowing that their husbands are in danger. They also agree on the second biggest challenge they face.

“I’m so glad that there’s only a week left in the semester,” Rouse said. “The only place that I’ve really felt a lack of support is here at Simpson. If you go just a few blocks away from Simpson into the Indianola community, there is so much more support.”

“The anti-war sentiment on campus hurts and frustrates me,” said Speck. “So many people don’t appreciate the fact that our troops are over their laying down their lives for our freedom, as well as Iraqi’s freedom. I am frustrated and hurt by the fact that there has only been one positive article about war in the school newspaper.”

Rouse said her patriotism has grown through this experience.

“We as Americans are free today because of men and women who were brave enough to fight for us and die for us. I can’t express how proud I am to live in this great country,” Rouse said.

Neither Speck nor Rouse know when their husbands will return, but say they are looking forward to that day and spending the many days to come with them as husband and wife.