It’s been a little while since I’ve posted to my blog. I’ve been busy. Plus, there’s only so much we are allowed to talk about from here. I have tons of inspiration and great stories to tell, just can’t really tell them all right now. I guess some of my stories will have to be told to the grandkids one day. But what I can tell you is that unless something catastrophic happens, 2013 in Afghanistan will have the fewest number of U.S. casualties in six years. I’m using numbers from icasualties.org for my source. Their last entry for a U.S. casualty is December 17, when a helicopter crash killed 6 U.S. Soldiers. On that same day I took a helicopter flight from Bagram to Kabul. It wasn’t long after I landed that I learned of the crash.
I didn’t personally know any of our recently fallen here in Afghanistan. But I still feel a loss and my heart goes out to the families. In the past I’ve been in a unit that lost a member. And as the chaplain assistant I had to help coordinate the memorial ceremony. That’s very emotional for all involved. I could see the pain and reflection in the attendees as they cope with the loss. My job has also given me a front row seat to passing on bad news. I’ll never forget being in Iraq and being present when a chaplain informed a Service Member that her husband’s plane had gone down in Afghanistan and that there were no survivors. I can still see in my mind her reaction. I can still feel the pain she was tormented with as she cried uncontrollably for what seemed like forever. Time seems to crawl during moments like that. I think it gives us time for the images to be forever etched in our minds. I have a number of those images in my mind.
My job isn’t terribly hard, but it is emotionally draining at times. Earlier this year when offering comfort to a Soldier during his loss of a family member, I put it all to words in a poem entitled “My Hardest Job”. I will share that with you here. Enjoy. Good day, God bless.
My Hardest Job
We’re built to be tough- hard and strong,
Trained to keep going when the days get long.
We learn to fight, to shoot and kill,
Our soul is busy- never still.
We fight the battles when called upon,
Without distraction we soldier on.
I’ve gone to war- seen the dead,
Images of that, etched in my head.
I’ve done all the jobs I’ve been given to do,
For the love of the army, and my country, too.
But when Taps is played and we say goodbye,
My hardest job ever is watching a Soldier cry.
I just read this. I cannot explain it, but the morning I woke up and saw the article about David’s plane going down in Afghanistan, I know it was his before I actually knew it was his. I didn’t know him as well as I knew Katie but it struck me before I knew for sure. When I got your email, later that day, it confirmed everything. I thank God that you were there to comfort her. I know time has gone on, and we each have struggled to carry our personal burdens, but I thank you and your fellow Chaplaincy for being there for her. I know you all have been there for us each step of the way, regardless of the pain it caused you, and I thank you. Miss you, my friend, and hope you are well.
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