Even though Memorial Day is to remember our fallen heroes from wars past (or for much of `Murka, BBQs, beer and the Indy 500), there is another block of people who we should stop, think of, and pray for who don't "technically" fall under the category of military dead.
Those people are the ones who are currently fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom are aware that they were sent overseas based on a pile of lies to conduct a mission that is so vague and have felt a strain on their families, as well as the breakup of their relationships and marriages. Over a war that was started by an insecure dumbass who desperately wanted to show daddy how big his penis was.
Today's WaPo has a very powerful article entitled A Union Tested By War that is just a heartbreaking look at some of the many military families that have been strained or broken up as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Whether it be due to injuries, psychological damage, PTSD or anything else, these brave soldiers and their families deserve our thoughts as well - since a part of them died when one was shipped overseas to fight for a lie.
The stories, only a few of which are in the WaPo article, deal with husbands and wives, children, fiancées and girlfriends. They deal with the thoughts and guilt on both the returning soldier's part and his/her significant other's part. The questions, the doubts, the fears and the anger of what life will now bring to them. These people should not be forgotten as their stories are emotional and powerful. They teach us a lesson on how tough life can get. How every day is a blessing. How every day should be cherished. How one should be towards their families.
What I think may be better than my blathering on about my thoughts on why we should pray for these families and wish them nothing but luck and strength is to provide a few snippets from the article to show what kind of sacrifice these families have made.
First, the story of an injured Army Sgt. who didn't want to burden his girlfriend.
A few weeks after an explosion tore off his legs and part of his right arm, Army Sgt. Joseph Bozik felt the time had come to tell his girlfriend she no longer was bound by their plans for marriage.
He asked his mother to leave his hospital room at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and addressed his girlfriend, Jayme Peters. "Be completely honest with me," he said. "If you want to go home, that's fine."
As she broke into tears, Bozik said he'd be okay, and he would understand completely. He knew she had not bargained for a husband like this.
Luckily for them, Jayme wasn't going to leave him over this.
"Why do you want to stay with me?" she said he asked. "Why would you want to stay with me?"
She began to cry.
"I pretty much told him that I loved him," she said. "I was willing to be with him the rest of my life if he would let me."
They were married Dec. 31, 2004, in a hospital chapel.
And while they are still married and finally got their own place together, every day is a struggle as Joseph has 3 artificial limbs and every task for each of them is draining. But they are making it work.
There is also the story of a young couple's struggle when he is injured by an explosive that killed the officer that was with him and how he felt helpless and angry when he returned to his wife, who he had married before leaving for Iraq:
So they married last June. In August, the Marine lance corporal and an officer were searching an empty school near Fallujah when they triggered an explosive device. The officer died, and Adam lost his left arm at the shoulder and right leg below the knee.
Thinking he was dying, Adam asked his buddies to tell his wife he was sorry he wouldn't be able to buy her a house. "They pretty much told me to go to hell, that I'd have to tell her myself," he recalled in an interview. "They gave me a reason to stay alive."
Once Adam, 22, reached the intensive care unit at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Carrie, 27, moved to a hospital guest house to be near him.
Mostly, she was overwhelmed by how helpless he looked, sedated in the hospital bed.
He was just starting to emerge from the haze of drugs when one day she walked in and he began to cry. His heart rate jumped, she said, and a doctor asked her to leave.
She didn't know what to think.
"I was just afraid that he wasn't going to want to see me and didn't want me in his life," she said.
To this day, Carrie said, neither she nor Adam is sure why he was upset. "I don't know if it was because he didn't want me to see him that way or he was upset that he wouldn't be able to take care of me. I don't know."
Others aren't so lucky. Like this marriage broken up because of the husband's two tours of duty in Iraq:
One young soldier at Walter Reed recuperating from a double amputation said recently that his war injuries were the last blow to his four-year marriage. He said his wife already was unhappy with his two tours in Iraq.
Speaking anonymously because he is in the midst of a divorce, he said she left the hospital partway through his recovery, telling his mother she was not coming back.
"That was rough," he said. "I got on the phone to her and talked to her and cried. . . . I was like, 'I got nobody.' That was the hardest thing. If she had just stuck it out a little longer."
For every story that is reported, there are thousands of others that nobody hears about. Thousands of families that are going through their own private hell. Thousands of families whose lives are affected forever and shattered. Thousands of people who will never show up on any "casualty list" or get the credit, prayer and sympathy that they deserve.
Let's not forget about them tomorrow, as part of them has died as a result of this illegal and immoral war.