Yesterday, I received an e-mail from my blogfather*, Kyle E. Moore at Comments From Left Field (a very intelligent and thoughtful blog where I used to post cartoons in those far-away days when I had free time), asking me to pass along a link to his post about the two active-duty soldiers who "joined with five other soldiers to pen a critical OpEd in the New York Times entitled The War As We Saw It. Weeks later, Sgt. Yance T. Gray, and Sgt. Omar Mora were killed in a non-combat-related vehicle accident on September 10th in western Baghdad."
I don't know about you, but it hit me pretty hard.
That NYT piece really moved me. I was struck by the bravery of these patriotic soldiers who felt that it was important for Americans to hear the truth about the 'war' directly from the soldiers who were involved in it. Not armchair generals or Keyboard Kommandos (of which I, needless to say, am one) or war salesmen anxious to promote their 'product'; not soldiers who had left the armed services, but soldiers who were there, and staying there - soldiers who felt that their duty was to serve their country by putting their lives on the line to carry out the mission their commanding officers gave them. I was in awe of what it must have taken to write that piece and sign their names to it. I won't go on about it because Kyle has put it better than I ever could, but when I heard of the deaths of Sgt. Yance T. Gray and Sgt. Omar Mora, it put a name and a face and a voice on the countless deaths that this occupation has caused.
I do not have friends or family who have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. I do have friends, and children of friends, who have come back from there who will never be the same - who have lost their mental health to PTSD, and may never get it back. I have seen families that I love destroyed by the consequences of this occupation. A leg that has been blown apart can be dealt with. A mind and spirit that has been blown apart takes everyone down with it. Marriages collapse; the ability to earn a living is gone forever; parents, children, spouses scarred for life also. But I have never known the horror of losing a child or a spouse or a parent to war - a strong, healthy, brave, beloved person.
Anyway, long story short - the folks over at Comments From Left Field have started a fund drive In Honor of Sgt. Omar Mora & Sgt. Yance T. Gray. 100% of the profits will go to Fisher House, an organization that builds houses near military medical facilities, where loved ones of those who have been injured in the line of duty can stay free of charge while their service member undergoes necessary treatment.
I have kicked in, and I hope you will too. Anything you can contribute, no matter how small, is welcome. Regardless of how you feel about the conflict in Iraq, these soldiers deserve our support - and not just with words.
Here's the link to donate through ActiveGiving. It is tax-deductible.
Here's the link to Kyle's post, which is a must-read.
*it drives him crazy when I call him that!