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    dots Submission Name: Last Letters Home From Iraqdots

    Author: particularshard
    ASL Info:    23/m/DC
    Elite Ratio:    4.21 - 1159/1392/363
    Words: 958
    Class/Type: Poetry/Depressed
    Total Views: 2194
    Average Vote:    5.0000
    Bytes: 5802

       I decided to divorce this from politics - i didn't want to cheapen it. I'm just sad, and I wish I could make these families less so - but I can't. If you'll excuse me, I have to go drink till it don't hurt no more.

    Make the font bigger!! Double Spacing Back to recent posts.

    dotsLast Letters Home From Iraqdots

    '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.

    Submitted on 2004-11-05 20:03:16     Terms of Service / Copyright Rules
    Submissions: [ Previous ] [ Next ]

    Rate This Submission

    1: >_<
    2: I dunno...
    3: meh!
    4: Pretty cool
    5: Wow!

    ||| Comments |||
      all these [censored]s that talk about your grammatical errors when it comes to soldiers and iraq say "[censored] them" my write, my way. Point blank. I felt this poem to the pit of my stomach. I am in the Army by scholarship choice. I like that you dedicated this, its great. WOW. Is the word from it. In about six years I have a feeling this "peace war" still won't be over so I'll be over there too. But do me a favor when I go over, just say a prayer, cause I've got one in my heart too. Thanks for this.
    | Posted on 2006-05-22 00:00:00 | by Brwnsknsam05 | [ Reply to This ]
      This was so beautiful that it managed to pull a few tears from my eyes.

    I loved the way you quoted people and then wrote a (tragic) verse to describe them. It just...I dunno, the mixture of quotes and poetry really works.

    'Eat, drink and what?
    Well tomorrow we die anyway.'- this was my favourite line in the whole thing. When I read it I just thought, "whoa...what a great twist on an old phrase".
    | Posted on 2005-04-04 00:00:00 | by Aspartame | [ Reply to This ]
      Okay, I'm in the Wow camp. I won't tarnish this with my own political views. Suffice it to say that this "macho" guy is wiping his eyes as he writes this. I can't describe how deeply I feel for the families that are torn apart by this. I hope we can all concentrate our prayers (if you pray) or thoughts, or whatever, to getting this thing done as soon and safely as possible so we don't have to keep reading letters like these...

    As for your part of it (aside from accumulating the letters, which I assume are real(?)) you did an amazing job of putting faces behind these words. You did this in a very touching way, delicately, not screaming "Stop the madness!" In a piece like this, small technical things seem almost untouchable or unapproachable, but me (the jerk) will do it anyway. There are a few spelling errors (typos, actually) and I think you should fix them to do this wonderful tribute justice. . . line one in letter two, hae should be have. . .line 2 letter four, hel/hell. . .line 11 in the last letter, houw/how...again, I almost feel silly pointing it out, but there should be no hitch while reading this, no break in the emotion of it.

    Wonderful piece here. ou show great thoughtfulness and heart in your stories. It's easy sometimes to just see the death toll as casualties of war, numbers on a screen to be dismissed when dinner is ready. You force us to see how real it is. It's been far too long since I've read your work...I'll be diggin in to it for a while now...
    | Posted on 2005-02-01 00:00:00 | by deadndreaming | [ Reply to This ]
      This is quite powerful and yes depressing, -but more than that it , it provokes the reader to pause and reflect on the nature of war, of those who eage it and of the motivation of those who serve. Generally, unless you know personally someone in the military,or interested enough to follow the events reported by the media faithfully - then one doesn't their everyday thoughts jarred in this manner.

    Whether the letters you quote are real or fictitious, -doesn't matter (you don't say anywhere, I assumed they were true)-it is the thoughts, your own, weaving between them, resurrecting these brave and beautiful spirits.The poetry is then both in their own words, and the commentary that you provide to lace together these voices into a chorus sung since ancient times, –one that still rings loud and will most likely through decades to come. But it is the hope of every generation that the next may be free of that sad refrain, and that someday world peace will be a dream come true.

    I liked the technique of the poetic strophes to complement each letter. I can't really discuss the letters, as you are not their author, but will comment on your own stanzas.

    Of these, I thought the first, about Rachel "Sweet Pea" was the best. and most evocative. The image of the mother recalling her girl as she gazes at her neatly made bed, is poignant, and the last line is very sad, voicing that fear of the unknown. We always hope there is peace in death, but really don't know.

    The next about Joshua Byers, I thought could use some tweaking. There are too many little filler words, -"the-an-and, and especially pronouns-all those "he" s. Try eliminating most of them, and your statement becomes more eloquent and complementary to his own words.Also, while "Ultimate Service" was a great metaphor, the "Ultimate Sacrifice" part was cliché and takes away the shine from the former. I would suggest leaving the Ultimate service, (it eokes the meaning rather than just telling you-) and rephrasing the sacrifice bit.

    When you talk about Raheen's mother, you seem back on track again, but the section about Pierre I felt lacking. I didn't like the repetiton there, perhaps some would be okay, but really it's just replacing the pronoun he with his given name.On the other hand, this is the person who you give a lot of backgound on, focusing on his own character, his own thoughts and hopes, -that was good, the maple syrup, the wife, the joking about his serving at his desk. Don't lose any of that, just polish it up a bit.

    next Michelle Witmer. This was another with too many filler words, but it seems so easy to fix that, and still keep the poignant details in the fore. Here the repetition of the two similar lines beginning with "They didn't know what a hard place -" works very nicely,No one can be ever prepared for that first time in battle, that first sight of a corpse, perhaps struck down before their eyes. The part about the family sitting at dinner is good, but again I felt too wordy,-too many words that aren't working for you-and you repeat "the family" and "table" with no advantage or effect.The idea of the dinner table not being as crowded as before, is touching and lovely , but I really think that these lines need some tender loving rewrite,

    "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."

    -("sadly" is rather a pale word here, also "shrunk to 6 people-"-I dunno , maybe just shrunk to six - or "smaller now", thinnned, decreased- or maybe it will sound fine when the lines are tightened up in other areas.

    Finally the beautiful touching prescient letter from Jesse Givens to his wife, you did that one justice and heartbreakingly so-by simply ending the way you did, summing up all the emotions of all the previous letters as well
    "There is nothing more I can say."

    That last goes for this comment as well, -you have a beautiful, evocative write here, and I thank you for submitting. I have been returning to this over the past months-never having been able to comment on it sufficiently to express what i felt when reading it. My suggestions are just that, -and hope you don't take offense, as none was intended.
    Super idea, well presented
    | Posted on 2005-02-18 00:00:00 | by Silverdog | [ Reply to This ]
      I have yet to fully consider my thoughts and feelings on this war.
    As a serving soldier I find it hard to be objective.
    And this didn't help at all.
    I recognise the spleen that fuelled this and the underlying shout that there's really nothing much good coming out of it - yet.
    Whatever the premise, history will record appropriate action based on flawed ethics and the world will be rid of one more moustache...
    Poignant and controlled - just. So this works well on a number of levels.
    The reportagelettershome is always good for jerking tears but I read this as good reasons for having those prepared to fight and die.
    They remain noble regardless and by extension those that send this nobility on fools' errands are eternally damned.
    But it doesn't matter.
    And if there was better education for all, the army wouldn't be recruiting so well from the illiterate and inumerate on promises of literacy and numeracy.
    The perfect gift for those that have to count the number of hurts and then write about it - in some sort of chunky crayon...
    This happens in industry and commerce too. It's called wastage - how appropriate.
    | Posted on 2004-12-26 00:00:00 | by Awkward | [ Reply to This ]
      i want to say something that would do this justice.. but it has honestly left me speechless. it's not easy to write about war without sounding forced or like you're trying to get on a soapbox to prove your point.. but you did that. you made it simply about these people who lost their lives. and i am sure that this will touch each person who reads it. and i hope that more people do read it... i have this lump in my throat which really makes it hard to even think of anything else to say..
    | Posted on 2004-12-20 00:00:00 | by girlinthephoto | [ Reply to This ]
      I don't know what to say about that one. I'm glad I read it, but I can't say I liked it, you know? Anyway, it was a great write.
    | Posted on 2004-12-18 00:00:00 | by AngelOutlaw | [ Reply to This ]
      definitely brought tears to my eyes.
    a lot of my family is military. a LOT. my daddy is a vietnam veteran (disabled, but mildly so, diabetic from agent orange), my brother is air force...
    and i know i would die right along w/ him if i lost my brother; the pain from this kind of thing is unbelievable.
    the way I see it, nobody forced these people to be in the military, and when you sign up, there are certain things that you have to be prepared for-like going to war.
    But the war has about the most absurd reasoning behind it, and parents and brothers and sisters and wives, husbands, lovers, friends, are seeing the people that they love shipped home.
    it was a powerful piece that you wrote.
    ~be easy
    | Posted on 2004-11-14 00:00:00 | by Alize | [ Reply to This ]
      im sorry i dont know what to tell u. this one hit clos to home. living in hampton roads you have Norfolk and Va Beach and all this area is military i do think that this if saw by people who had influence would hsee that this war is dumb as hell. but it is a good right im sorry i cant help with suggetsions i just wanted o say this hit close to my heart and i like it
    | Posted on 2004-11-13 00:00:00 | by Sean | [ Reply to This ]
      THis is horrible. You weren't far off when you labelled it as depressed. it's also depressive, too. The writing is excellent, finely honed to a sharp point with which to pierce the heart of anyone who reads it. But it's horrible... in one article, one page on an internet website, the horrors of war have been given names, faces and a final, double-barreled date.

    What can I say really? Not much, because you've said it all so well here. It was the final paragraph that truly shredded my heart into pieces... those words of "a million lifetimes together", I think that man was wise to the possibilities of his fate and the fact that he didn't want to write that letter made me think that he knew it was very likely he would die. And those were the words, that if he had a chance to choose the last thing his wife ever heard from him, was that he loved her.
    Ohhh. I'm all sad now, Damn you shard, it's 9am in the morning and I'm thinking about two people, thousands of miles apart from each other sitting on their respective hillsides counting stars for each other.
    All these people who wanted nothing more than love, peace and happy, settled people.
    *Shakes head*

    This was brilliant... horribly, horrifically brilliant
    | Posted on 2004-11-12 00:00:00 | by Learah | [ Reply to This ]
      I'm utterly speechless. Absolutely phenominal piece, it hit almost too close to home for me. All of the letters were sad, however, it was the final letter that almost made me cry.

    I also loved those lines,
    "At least she still smiles in the pictures...
    God I pray she's still smiling" Beautiful

    Really, fantastic idea and approach to this issue. Keep up the great work and I hope to read more from you soon.
    | Posted on 2004-11-06 00:00:00 | by Babysweet56 | [ Reply to This ]
      I couldn't read the whole thing. This is too tragic and too real for me to handle right now, as my father came close to his end in Iraq last year, and although he didn't, this is still a very sensitive subject for me, even now that he has been home for a while. I'm so glad you posted it so that people can see what lives have been taken from us while they gave the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you.
    | Posted on 2004-11-05 00:00:00 | by eener | [ Reply to This ]
      Wow. Are these actual people, or ones you have invented for this piece? I noticed you have alot of views, but only one comment. Don't take it the wrong way. I think alot of people, when it comes to something as true to life as this, are intimidated and don't really know how to respond. I think you did a wonderful job.
    | Posted on 2004-11-05 00:00:00 | by curiosityskitty | [ Reply to This ]
      Whoa! Umm... Jesus I don't know what to say. I'm kind of dazed. I guess all I can say is you did a damn good job! This poem, well more of an eye-opener, blew me away. Great job! Awesome job!
    | Posted on 2004-11-05 00:00:00 | by BloodyWords | [ Reply to This ]
      You don't know how much I like this. It is so great. It was a unique way to write. Tears are in my eyes right now. I really don't have anyway to make this better it is just great the way it is. I'm sure many many many people could relate to this...No one that i know is in iraq but I pray everyday that they come home safe. God bless you.
    | Posted on 2005-03-06 00:00:00 | by MiKkI25 | [ Reply to This ]
      Geez....this is so sad. You got those letters from that book right? I saw a special about it and had heard some of the parts in those letters...it killed me inside then and it kills me now...it's just so sad...no one should have to go through that kind of pain. I like how you described them beyond their last letters home. It was a nice touch and good to remind everyone that that was someone's son, daughter, friend, lover, friend. Ah, I have nothing more to say either.
    Good job even though it's terribly disheartening...but what about war isn't?

    Take care.

    | Posted on 2006-05-20 00:00:00 | by borderlinetears | [ Reply to This ]

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