'Sure, I've dodged lots of bullets and such, gotten little to no sleep, and eaten nasty food, but im doing great.'
-Pfc. Rachel Bosveld, U.S. Army
(Killed 10/26/03 twelve days before 20th bday)
The flowers on the windowsill of Sweetpea's room have grown withered and husky;
Much like the voice of her mother,
Staring absently at the neatly made bed that her daughter once nestled in.
She always told me 'don't worry so much about me!'
Her company hadn't lost a single life in Iraq before her - how could we not?
They're sending home her Purple Heart -
A perverse birthday present.
At least she still smiles in the pictures...
God I pray she's still smiling.
'I see more courage in a day here than I could ever hae imagined before this...I am really nervous and just pray that i am up to the task out here to lead 120 men in combat operations...I pray with all my heart, that I will be able to take every single one of them home safe when we finish our mission here.'
-Cpt. Joshua T. Byers, U.S. Army
(Killed outside Baghdad by a 'road bomb')
He looked resplendant graduating from the Acadamy that day.
Really they all did, as though the bristling perfection of Westpoint had polished them to a high sheen.
He spent his whole life trying to find the best way to serve God,
And eventually he found that to be service to his country.
When he became Cavalry Troop Commander shortly before his death,
He thought of it only as his best oppurtunity to discharge service yet -
In fact he discharged the Ultimate Service,
And paid the Ultimate Sacrifice,
To protect the ones he loved.
Hopefully it will not be taken lightly
'In the beginning there was a lot of blood shed, but now it's all over...The good news is I will be home to see you in september or october the latest'
- Spc. Raheen Heighter, U.S. Army
(Killed when 'insurgents' attacked his convoy)
A year has passed,
And Raheen has still not come home.
His mother sits in her livingroom,
Staring off at something nobody else can see.
She prepared her son for Iraq.
Raheen felt Iraq prepared him for life.
Nobody prepared her for this.
'People are always trying to give us gifts...to say thank you for getting rid of Saddam. I know we cannot entirely change this hel hole, but maybe being here will make things a little better...I am proud to defend my country, but i don't want to be defending it constantly for the next 10 -15 years...I want to have something resemebling a home/personal life...'
-Cpt. Pierre Piche', U.S. Army
(Killed when his chopper collided with another over Mosul)
pierre was a maintenance officer.
pierre liked to drink straight maple syrup.
pierre thought he was safe in his desk job.
pierre liked being able to help people, but he didn't feel the need to be a hero, just a simple vermonter.
pierre had a beautiful wife named cherish, and they joked about him getting a purple heart for carpal tunnel syndrome.
pierre and cherish were only half-right.
'In the past week I have seen my first dead body...It's a very dangerous job, I never imagined they would be having us do this kind of work.'
- Spc. Michelle Witmer, U.S. Army
(Fatally wounded when her convoy was ambushed)
No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.
Horror in practice is always more horrible than horror in one's head.
Shelly just wanted to be a combat lifesaver.
She worked a police station in a bad part of Baghdad.
She and her twin sister Charity, as well as her sister Rachel enlisted and went to Iraq to help people.
They didn't know what a hard place it would be to be women...
They didn't know what a hard place it would be to stay alive.
The rest of the family sits sadly at their table in New Berlin Wisconsin.
The family, having shrunk to 6 people,
Somehow doesn't seem to be able to stretch quite all the way around the table.
Their haggard eyes look hollowly at half finished bottles of wine.
Eat, drink and what?
Well tomorrow we die anyway.
'I searched all my life for a dream and I found it in you...I am so sorry...You will never know how complete you have made me...Dakota you are more son than I could ever ask for...I will always be there in our park when you dream so we can still play...I hope someday you will understand why I didn't come home...I will always be there with you. Ill be in the sun, shadows, dreams, and joys of your life...Bean, I never got to see you but I know in my heart you are beautiful. I know you will be strong and big hearted just like your mom and brother...I have never been so blessed as I was the day I met [you]...my Angel, soulmate, wife, lover, and best friend. I am so sorry. I did not want to have to write this letter. There is so much more I need to say, so much more I need to share. A lifetimes worth. I married you for a million lifetimes. That's houw long I will be with you. Do me one favor. After you tuck Toad and Bean in, give them hugs and kisses from me. Go outside, look at the stars and count them. Don't forget to smile'
-Pfc. Jesse Givens, U.S. Army
(Killed when a berm collapsed under his tank as he crossed the Euphrates - where he drowned)
There is nothing more I can say.