Opening the newspaper this weekend I realized – it’s twenty years since the Gulf War.
Twenty years since we sealed our bedroom windows with heavy plastic sheets and prayed this would save us from the toxic missiles of Saddam Hussein – if he ever attacked us with them – which we prayed he wouldn’t.
Twenty year since we lined up to obtain gas masks for ourselves and our children in all the various shapes and sizes:
An adult one for me
An adult one with extra room for a beard for hubby
Two teenage masks
Three children’s masks with special pumps to help them breathe.
One gas proof baby crib
And as though we were simply returning from a trip to the supermarket we piled this collection of reminders of death, poison and danger at the foot of our beds – to be easily available when (if) needed.
And needed they definitely were. How can I ever forget awakening to the deafening screeches of the first air-raid at 2am , rushing around the house pulling six terrified children into our bedroom, trying to control my shaking hands as I fastened the gas mask straps around their head and shoulders , checking that the filter was open so they didn’t suffocate and then having to pull it off one of my 8 year old twins as she threw up inside her mask.
Twenty years . Saddam Hussein is gone but another madman has taken his place in Iran.
Twenty years – but little has changed.
Our old gas masks were collected several years ago – the newer upgraded versions will be distributed here again soon.
And life goes on as usual.