July 27, 2006

All gave some, some gave all ...

9 a.m., 27 July 2006
Today is a hard day. Last week we lost two Soldiers in two different engagements, just a day apart from each other. I refused to deal with it at first, taking on a “just the facts” attitude when I called the 17 families in my care to tell them the news before they saw it on TV.
They knew what was going on at work because I work in the Public Affairs Office, but everyone walked around the issue unless I brought it up ... life goes on despite tragedy. That is a lesson that I am learning everyday. There is no sympathy for those whose Soldiers are deployed, no special treatment, but I don’t think I would want it, other that the occasional, “How are you doing?”
Those who live on the “outside” will never really know what is is we go through. Even our families don’t understand what a daily struggle it can be to just get out of bed sometimes. They say that it takes a strong person to do this over and over again, but sometimes I get tired of being strong. I’m tired of having to be composed all the time so the younger spouses who look at me don’t get scared. It’s a heavy burden to carry at times. When do I get to fall apart?
In less than an hour I have to walk across the street to the chapel where the memorial service will be held for these two fallen heroes. In the past two weeks, the families have come to realize the reality of war close to home. The fear of losing your Soldier has a face now as two families one here at Polk and the other in their hometown, struggle with the realization that their Soldiers will not be part of the welcome home reunions. For their Soldiers this is it. They are home now, home forever. All we can do is thank them for their sacrifice, a hollow reminder of the price of freedom.

1 p.m., 27 July 2006.
It’s taken me an hour to compose myself and get the courage to face my thoughts. The service was beautiful, but one of those beautiful things that come at a cost, the cost was two lives. The friends and families spoke so highly of them, that it made me wonder why, when them. What made God decide that they had lived their life to it’s purpose and now their time was up? Why are four children now fatherless, left only with the memories of time that was not long enough? Surely the way that these families and friends spoke of these two, the continuance of their lives could have touch so many. I guess in the end they touch more lives that they knew.
Hundreds of spouses and families of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment gathered together to console each other at this time of grief. It was here that I realized how much the unit families come to mean to each other, especially in times of deployment. Our own families will never understand the choices we make or the sacrifices that we endure. Mine has continued to questioned it throughout the deployment and there are now words to describe it.
It is the feeling of pride as you see them standing in formation in their uniforms, the admiration in the eyes of your small child sleeping in their daddy’s arms clutching ribbons or medals pinned to their chest, it’s the moment you are in their arms again after a long separation, but most of all it is knowing that your sacrifices lead to a better life for others.
It’s funny who you turn to for comfort during your times of grief.
When I was in B Company there was this one spouse that we were a little like oil and water, but I think it was more of communication issues than a reaction to one another. Over the last year, we have been more civil to each other but had not really gotten to the point of being best friends. Our husbands had both been moved to different companies (the same one actually so we are together again), but I think it was our mutual investments in the company that led us to comforting each other. At one time we were both family leaders in the group and I can honestly say it was filled with drama, but as she said today, despite the blood, sweat and tears there were some laughs and they outweigh the bad. B Company will always have a place in our hearts because it was “home” for so long. We were both there from the beginning. We welcomed all of the wives as they joined the unit, one that we helped build. I think that is why today was so hard, we lost a B Company Soldier.
For me the hardest part of the ceremony was the roll call. For those who don’t know, when a Soldier dies, they call roll and of course he does not answer. they call his name three times and them say, “Remove, (name) from the roll.” It is the last act of saying that while the Soldier will forever live through us, he is no longer with us. It was hard. hard to hear the silent sobs as their names were repeated. Hard to know that they will never again answer.
Regardless of whether you had a personal connection with the Soldier or family, you will still feel the overwhelming grief and sorrow of a life taken so early.
For me, the national anthem and taps will never be hears without the remembrance the of pain and loss of those two brave men.
So on behalf of a grateful nation ... thank you.

Forever in our hearts ...

Staff Sgt. Robert Chiomento
8 February 1972 - 17 July 2006

Sgt. Robert Kassin
22 January 1977 - 16 July 2006

All gave some, some gave all ...

So it is with heavy heart and tearful eyes that I thank God for the gift of my husband's life. So many of us take life for granted, but we must always remember the price we pay to live in the land of the free.

10 Tea Party Guest:

Tommy said...

You know where I am if you need to talk about this hun. Thinking about you. (((M)))

airplanejayne said...

as a (now growed-up) military brat I just want to say, "Thank you."

nicely done.

S said...

Sending you a Hug and a HUGE thank you.
Such a beautifully written post from your heart.
I cannot imagine how it must feel to live as a military wife.
God Bless you and thank you for your strength.
I will keep all of you and your spouses in my prayers!

Sandi (a blogger pal of Tommy's)

lime said...

visiting from tommy's....thank you to you and your family and to those under your care. you all bear a burden the rest of us do not know. but you are appreciated deeply.

Wenchy said...

I am so sorry...........

D said...

Hugs....... from one military wife to another.

Sis B said...

that was a beautiful tribute and the tears are flowing freely right now. it's something we all fear, something i know is so real to you right now and i appreciate your sharing so much here.

this is your place to break down and let it all out, you don't have to be strong here. thank you for caring so much for the other women around you and for striving to maintain your calm through all of this. i appreciate your sacrifices and i wait in earnest for George's return.

Moosekahl said...

God thoughts and prayers with you in your task. Being the "strong one" also comes at a cost, I've been there and done that in a very different situation. My heartfelt prayers for you, your fellow military wives and for all our friends, spouses, and childern who serve our country in so many ways.

smilnsigh said...

Oh my Dear, I can not see through my tears. I am so moved by this entry.

I've never known this pain, or your worry, in my own life. I can try to comprehend it mentally. I can be grateful to all military and all their families. But I can't feel it, as you feel it.

But this entry has brought it home to my heart, more than any other words I've read, on such. Thank you.


kitkat kassin said...

I know this was a long time ago but i am just now getting strong enough to search. Thank you for the words you wrote. I agree completely with you about the hardest part being the role call. Robert Kassin is my brother. i miss him dearly and hearing what you have said I would love to talk to you about a few things we are trying to find. email me or call me, or 5752185224
Thank you again. Missing our soldiers, Katrina