June 25, 2004

HELL

War may be hell, but we here in the rear live our own sort of personal hell.

For every soldier and Marine in Iraq, there are days of fierce battle, but there are also long stretches of calm and nothing. For every firefight they're in, they spend many more days standing around on guard or sandbagging. When that firefight comes, it's pivotal, but not every day is a raging battle.

For us in the rear, every day the news brings us another conflict. Monday it's Fallujah, Tuesday it's Najaf, Wednesday it's Baghdad, Thursday it's Baqubah, and by Friday we're back to Fallujah. For us in the rear, there are no calms in Iraq's storm. There's no time to catch your breath, no respite from the chain of casualties, no days of just standing on guard.

I try not to hang on the news out of Iraq, but yesterday was rough on me. Even my students noticed I was a quieter than usual. If I were self-absorbed, I would have been content with the email from my husband saying that he had made it to his destination and was shocked at how calm things were there. But once he was accounted for, my attention shifted back to all the other soldiers from his battalion who were waging war yesterday. Best Friend was still back there, and I was in knots all day thinking about him. Blue 6 was safe, but Red 6 was in the thick of it, and over the past year and a half I've grown to love Red 6 almost as much as I love my own husband. I'm just as invested in him as I am in my own family.

He responded to my frantic email this morning, breathless from his ordeal but in one piece. He said the insurgents are getting better at aiming...

If you've got one family member in Iraq, you can concentrate your anguish on one city. When you have friends all over the country -- one in Mosul, two in Tikrit, one in Baghdad, one at Anaconda, several god-knows-where, a whole battalion in Baqubah, and the most important platoon out on a mission -- you're never insulated from the danger.

You've always got one eye at the top of the casualty list, praying that "name not released yet" doesn't turn into someone you know.


MORE TO GROK:

Yesterday I had a bad feeling. I don't believe in premonitions, but it was the first time I really felt sick to my stomach thinking about my boys down there. I'll thank my lucky stars that I don't have THE POWER that Tim has!

Posted by: Sarah at 03:36 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 I cannot imagine Sarah. It's hard enough "knowing" many bloggers who are over there as well as their family members and worrying about them. If I could put a face with the name I might be insane by now. Hopefully it helps to know that there are those of us out here that are supporting you, our troops and their families any way we can. Especially in thoughts and prayers.

Posted by: Tammi at June 25, 2004 11:58 AM (8r0pr)

2 Yeah, what Tammi said... I'm not even going to Iraq, but still to the Middle East to study in a few months, and I'm sure my parents will feel the same way about me, and for that I feel bad, b/c I know they'll be constantly glued to the news and computer.

Posted by: athena at June 25, 2004 09:14 PM (P2pz0)

3 All I can say is *sigh*...and *nod.*

Posted by: Carla at June 26, 2004 11:56 AM (r5M6F)

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