These 6 people are not just numbers. They are actual people with friends and families that were waiting for them to come home. Most of them were very young. I attached a link to a website that the Washington Post maintains. It has most of the pictures and very brief description of all of the people in the military that have died both in Afghanistan and Iraq. On this Veteran's Day weekend it is a good way pay tribute to them by reading some of their stories.
I came across this condolence letter when I was reading a Guest Book of a fallen soldier. It just broke my heart.
To the Family and Friends of this Soldier: I will stand in grief with this soldier's family to honor him. For every fallen HERO there is a bright star that shines in the evening sky to remind us of the cherished gift we were given – even if for too short a time.
My heart breaks again as I sign yet another guest book of another courageous young soldier who gave their life so selflessly. I wish I never found myself in a position to have to sign another guestbook for the rest of my life, but I promised Brent that neither he nor any like him would be forgotten and so I will continue until the day there is no longer the need.
We lost our son SFC Brent A. Adams on 12/1/05 and it seems like yesterday. I wish so badly there were things I could say to you right now to make the pain you are feeling go away, but I know first hand there simply are no words that will bring you the comfort and peace your heart aches for. Just know that you are not alone. My heart, thoughts, and prayers are with you all as you go through this tragedy moment by moment and as you mourn this loss.
We don't know each other, will probably never meet, but will forever be united in the loss of our Heroes. We have, unfortunately joined a group none of us wanted to join, an ever-growing group of families in this situation. May God grant you peace and strength to get through this and be able once again to smile at a memory rather than have only the tears that flow so easily now. To be so proud of your loved one and so saddened at the same time is a mix of emotions very difficult to deal with as our hearts both burst with pride and pain together.
I am sorry that I never knew your soldier personally. While they can never be replaced, neither will they ever be forgotten. You must trust that sometime, someday the loving memories you have will help to sustain you and help you go on. This courageous soldier will forever be your Angel watching over you all for the rest of your lives. It's what brings me some measure of peace and comfort and I hope it will you as well.
To his family and friends in pain, I offer this comfort: When you find yourself in that dark sorrowful place, think not only of how you will miss him, but instead recall the years, days, hours and minutes gifted to you by his presence. The one thing that cannot be taken from you is your wonderful memories that now will mean more than ever. If you ever want to talk, I'm only an e:mail away and would love for you to tell me more about your Hero.
God Bless this soldier and family who gave all and God Bless legacy.com for setting up this site where families can so quickly share their condolences and prayers with others like themselves.Proud Parents of SFC Brent A. Adams, KIA, 12/1/05, Ramadi, IraqPam and Bill Adams, Lancaster, PA"
"The least of learning is done in the classrooms."
-Thomas MertonUS religious author, clergyman, & Trappist monk (1915 - 1968)
My internet subscription ran out today and I am reluctant to renew it since I will be moving soon. Because of this I had to spend some time in the computer lab to do my blog. I have not been there for a while. When you are in there you can not help but to be nosey. One person was on an internet phone very upset and loud talking about how his wife is going to leave him. A bunch of other people are on webcams. The computer I am using is greasy and disgusting.
Today I gave my lecture on mass casualty to the staff of the new clinic. It took a while to figure out where to give it. We just ended up picking a wall a set up a bunch of chairs. We had a pretty good turnout. All of the people there seemed to all be listening attentively. I tried to make it a little interactive. It went pretty well.
I get a bunch of mail from people who got my name though soldier support sites like Soldier's Angles. Today I got a couple of letters from some of them and I though I would share a couple of them with you. One nice lady from Lockport, N.Y. always sends me a typed letter and includes a medical related article that she cuts out from newspaper.
I also received another letter from a young girl from Indianapolis, I.N. I am assuming that she is about 13 years-old from her letter. I thought that it would be fun if I answered one of her questions on my blog.
She asks, "Why do the women wear all of those cloths?"
I am assuming that she is referring to the burqa. I found a really good explanation from Wikepedia that I copied verbatim.
"A burqa (also transliterated burkha, burka or burqua) is an enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions for the purpose of cloaking the entire body. It is worn over the usual daily clothing (often a long dress or a shalwar kameez) and removed when the woman returns to the sanctuary of the household.
Many Muslims believe that the Islamic holy book, the Qur'an, and the collected traditions of the life of Muhammed, or hadith, require both men and women to dress and behave modestly in public. However, this requirement, called hijab, has been interpreted in many different ways by Islamic scholars (ulema) and Muslim communities; the burqa is not specifically mentioned in the Quran.
The full Afghan chadri covers the wearer's entire face except for a small region about the eyes, which is covered by a concealing net or grille. Pakistani and Indian burqas may expose the face or eyes. The garment is usually sewn from light materials, and requires many meters of material. Blue is a favourite colour for chadris. The cap from which the material hangs may be decorated with embroidery.
The chadri was created by one of Afghanistan's rulers trying to stop anyone from seeing his wives' faces. He came up with the chadri, which became a sign of an upper class citizen; however, as times changed, the new government decided that chadris weren't modern enough and banned them. The upper class people then gave them to their servants. The chadris in those days were made out of silk and the mesh at the front was lace.
Before the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, the chadri was infrequently worn in cities. While they were in power, the Taliban treatment of women required the wearing of a chadri in public. Officially, it is not required under the present Afghan regime, but local warlords still enforce it in southern Afghanistan. Due to political instability in these areas, women who might not otherwise be inclined to wear the chadri must do so as matter of personal safety."
That last line is key. I do not think that it would be very safe for women to go out in public without atleast a headscarf. It would not be appropriate for me to criticize or debate this topic since I am a guest in their country and I also represent the military so I will leave that for another place and time. Never the less, I still find Afghanistan's culture and customs to be very interesting.
Thanks for reading.