What We Lost In Iraq…

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My job provides the newspapers to our guests… and every once and a while, I help myself. After all, I deserve to stay on top of what’s happening in this great place we call home, right?

Today, the headline caught my attention: What We Lost In Iraq. Do you know it is the 10 year anniversary of the war in Iraq? No? Me either. However, the article- written by Audra D.S. Burch, was phenomenally written. I am deeply saddened by the contents therein but I feel so honored, humbled, and grateful for the many soldiers who sacrifice their lives every day in honor of this great country.

The story featured a mother who saw the chaplain and an officer at her door and contemplated not opening it to not have to face the truth that her son, 22 year old Army Pfc. Jeremy Ricardo Ewing, had been killed. I cannot fathom the experience and ultimate grief of losing a child… to facing the realization that I would never get to hug my son or daughter again and have them hug me back. My heart aches for the families left behind…

It goes without saying that a soldier’s job is by far the most honorable and most important. I could not imagine enlisting AT ALL and yet men and women from all over the USA make the decision to do so. I am compelled to do something in their honor… and I plan to pray for guidance about what God should have me to do.

Not ironically I’m sure; I also saw the following article on Yahoo:  “Vet who saved many in Iraq couldn’t escape demons”. The beginning of the article detailed the life of Capt. Pete Linnerooth, an Army Psychologist. He was described as a man who could save any one who stepped foot within his office. He was down to earth, positive, funny, and blessed with the ability to help in whatever capacity needed (often found in the infirmary squeezing IV bags and helping with bandages). He kept many from taking their own lives… reassuring them that sunshine followed the rain and that life would get better for them. Sadly, the article concludes with Capt. Linnerooth’s suicide.

How can we honor these soldiers? How can we say thank you for the works they perform in order to secure our freedom and to help those around the world who need it? How can we ever thank them for their dedication and unwavering pride?

I don’t understand the war in Iraq now that Hussein is out of the picture. But to be honest, I never understood it. It is possible my lack of understanding stems from my lack of support for anything relating to George Bush… or my lack of understanding of military and wars, in general. No, I didn’t fail American History but even with an A, Mr. Aguilar never got me to fully comprehend what it is all about.

However, 10 years later, I am compelled to say thank you. I am compelled to say a prayer for all the lives lost… all the families affected by the ultimate act of patriotism so many find themselves within. The Miami Herald writer took the time to research and report the number of lives lost… the number of those who lived in South Florida just like me.

South Florida’s fallen served in every branch of the military, 44 men, 4 women- 27 from Miami-Dade”.

1) Armando Ariel Gonzalez, 25, Hialeah 2)Charles Marques Sims, 18, Miami 3)Edmond Lee Randle Jr, 26 4)Jeremy Ricardo Ewing, 22, Miami 5)Scott Ronald McHugh, 33, Boca Raton 6)Christopher James Kenny, 32, Miami 7)Terry Holmes, 22, Hollywood 8)Brandon Robert Sapp, 21, Lake Worth 9)Pamela Geraldine Osbourne, 38, Hollywood 10)Oscar Amilcar Martinz, 19, North Lauderdale 11)Paul Michael Felsberg, 27, West Palm Beach 12)Juan Estevan Segura, 26, Homestead 13)David Joseph Brangman, 20, lake Worth 14)Julio Enrique Negron, 28, Margate 15)Jude Ralph Jonaus, 27, Miami 16) Elizabeth Nicole Jacobson, 21, Riviera Beach 17)Ryan James Sorensen, 26, Boca Raton 18) Roland Ernest Calderon-Ascencio, 21, Miami 19)Romulo Jose Jimenez II, 21, Miami 20) Chassan Sandu Henry, 20, West Palm Beach 21)Ramon Ernesto Gonzales Cordova, 30, Davie 22)Franklin Ruddys Vilorio, 26, Miami 23)Kenny Dwayne Rojas, 21, Pembroke Pines 24)Adam Leigh Cann, 23, Davie 25)Pablo Vinicio Mayorga, 33, Margate 26)Rene Martinez, 20, Miami 27)Timothy Robert Burke, 24, Hollywood 28)Timothy Ronn Weiner, 35, Tamarac 29)Joe Polo, 24, Opa-locka 30)Daniel Jay Agami, 25, Coconut Creek 31)Alfred Henry Jairala, 29, Hialeah 32)Lillian Ladae Clamens, 35, Homestead 33)Luis Ariel Souffront, 25, Miami 34)Mark Edwin Rosenberg, 32, Miami Lakes 35)Marcelo Reinaldo Velasco, 40, Miami 36)Nelson Manuel Lantigua, 20, Miami 37)Alexander Jordan, 31, Miami 38)Christopher Thomas Riviere, 21, Cooper City 39)Roger Alfonso Suarez Gonzalez, 22, Miami 40)Phillip David McNeill, 22, Sunrise 41)Junior Cedeno Sanchez, 20, Miami 42)Robert Richard McRill, 42, Miami 43)Donnie Dwayne Dixon, 37, Miami 44)Marius Leonardo Ferrero, 23, Miami 45)Stuart Adam Wolder, 36, Coral Springs 46)Marcus William Preudhomme, 23, North Miami Beach 47)Jessica Yvette Sarandrea, 22, Miami 48)Amilcar H. Gonzalez, 26, Miami

I just want to say THANK YOU. I want to reassure them that their journey is not in vain. They are real-life super heroes and I am proud to live within a country filled with so many willingly doing the one thing I can never imagine doing…

…at least not voluntarily.

Lord, I thank you for these men and women. I thank you for their families- their children, their spouses, their parents, their siblings, their friends and loved ones.

I thank you for freedom.

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