Monday, April 19, 2010

Casualties of War & Windows

““It’s me, Tina.”  Tina was one of my best friends in high school and I had not seen her since graduation. I threw my arms around her and gave her a huge hug, hoping that this was my long lost friend and not the waitress or someone asking for directions to the bathroom.

One of the first questions out of my mouth was: “Do you have kids?”
“Yes,” my slight friend replied, “Six, well five. My oldest son died this year from complications of muscular dystrophy.”

Tina’s face was pale and she looked like a child. She continued: “My second husband took a gun to his head after his second tour in Iraq. He killed himself in front of me and the kids.” Tina buried her face in my sweater as I held her crying in the middle of the bar. I didn’t know what to say, so I just stood there hugging my long lost friend, searching for words that couldn’t be found.

Suicide rates among soldiers are the highest they have been in nearly three decades and are exceeding suicide rates for the general population. There are months that there are more suicides among soldiers than soldiers killed in the line of duty. Each and every day an average of five soldiers try to take their own lives; compare this to 2001 statistics, before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when there was an average of one suicide attempt a day among soldiers.

Tina’s husband, Lance, was thirty-six years old when he shot himself in the head. He joined the Army right out of high school and had served in the Army for over eighteen years. He was a year and half away from being able to retire with full benefits. Lance loved the Army, he loved the community, the camaraderie and the discipline. He often told Tina that he couldn’t see himself doing anything else.

Lance’s first wife was his high school sweetheart, Kimberly. Lance and Kimberly had three children together. They were by all accounts a very happy family. Toward the end of his second deployment in Iraq Lance got an emergency message that his wife had died from a drug overdose.

Lance buried the love of his life. He felt guilty about her death and was convinced that it could have somehow been prevented. He blamed himself for leaving his wife with three young kids for months on end. Fifteen days after her funeral, the Army wanted Lance to go back to Iraq and leave behind his three children who had just lost their mother. He was sick and grieving and had to beg the Army to give him more time with his children. The Army finally agreed and slowly Lance seemed to recover from his devastating loss.

Tina and Lance met, fell madly in love and joined their families together. Tina got pregnant and the baby was nine months old and in Tina’s arms the day her father took his life.
“Seeing my husband take his last breath and bleeding to death in my arms -- I felt like I had failed him,” Tina said. “I had called the Army so many times pleading with them to help my husband. They would prescribe him some pills and then everything would start over again. He was depressed and scared. He wasn’t afraid of dying -- he was afraid of living with all the images he had seen in Iraq.”

After eighteen years of serving his country, Sergeant First Class Lance left behind a wife and four children, three who have no mother and no father. They are the forgotten casualties of war.”
(The names have been changed to protect the family's privacy.)
To give your support:

“Like many "He wasn't afraid of dying," she says. "He was afraid of living with all the images he had seen in Iraq."”

This applies to all veterans.  Please Support Our Troops

“Birds are a tremendous economic resource
Forty six million Americans watch birds. Birders are the market for a burgeoning industry, spending hundreds of millions of dollars per year feeding birds, purchasing equipment, and traveling in pursuit of birds. This economic force - and the benefits birds provide in insect and rodent control, plant pollination, and seed dispersal - add value to sustaining birds and their habitats.” 

Reflected trees in building glass“These  photos clearly illustrates the problem posed by glass on buildings. The reflections of sky and trees appear real, leading to fatal collisions as birds try to fly through the glass.” Photos: ABC
“This bill will help prevent the deaths of millions of  birds that collide with windows at thousands of buildings across the country.
Take action now by sending an email to your Representative asking them to support this bill using American Bird Conservancy's Action Alert System. The system is fully automated, so all you need to do is enter your details and submit. However, the impact of your action will be greatly increased if you take some extra time to add your personal thoughts and comments.”

Trolley-top-windows-painted Ray taped the glass, primed and painted the four trolley top windows out of the B+. 

Jay and I ran into our town for a few things.

Now, it's not humid after yesterday's rains.  Still lovely 'open windows', 'cats on the porch', and T-shirt weather, today.

1 comment:

Merikay said...

I experienced a lot of bird hits on my large patio door after I put up a bird feeder near by. Then I got some cool transparent stickers at the Wild Bird Center and now the birds can see my windows.

It is such a sicken sound when one went thunk.