"I'm sorry I must leave, but I must do what is asked of me by my God, my Country, and my Corps.. and so, the war blog begins, again." ~B

10 November 2014

To the Brothers I found along the way...No Better Friends.  Happy Birthday, Marines.

10 August 2014


8 years.

The contract is over.

I have been thinking about all that has happened in the last 8 years.  11 years.

I think we will spend our whole lives searching for its meaning.

The violence starts over again in the place that we thought we had put behind us.

No matter how far we push it away, how far we get away from it, it is never very far away at all.

It is a wound that has not even begun to close.

26 May 2014

Cpl Will M Powell, Memorial Day 2014

Went to visit Will today.  While I was there I had the privilege of meeting Will's Grandma.  She mentioned searching the internet for him.  I told her how many people were thinking of him.  I wished she could see what I saw on my facebook news feed, lots of messages, lots of pictures, lots of graveside photos.  Between mine and a few others, there were well over 150 'likes.'  So, on the off chance the internet brings you here, Grandma, this is a sampling of what I saw today, Memorial Day, 2014.

We remember Will.  We will never forget.

I went to visit him yesterday.  Still Saddens me.  Will M. Powell-Kerchief...Gone but Never Forgotten. Benjamin Bosse High School Grad, Evansville, IN. Died in 2007.  I, with A  went to the airport to wait for the body of Will Powell to come back home...it was so emotional...but beautiful at the same time...as his casket was brought out in military style...I teared up...I tried not to...but I couldnt help it.  This was very emotional...i didnt think the streets would be lined with so many people. The procession with friends and family, was about a mile long. People not in the procession lined the entire procession route, which worked its way all throughout the entire city of Evansville so that as many people could pay their respects as possible. Firemen lifted their ladders over the highway with flags, people with banners showing support, and Ambulance and Policemen turned their horns on as a tribute. I cried most of the way through the procession. It was the most moving experience I have ever been through. ~ GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN ~   

Went to visit Will this morning. Of course, they started playing Taps while I was there, gut punch. Got to share some stories and met his grandma. Will, your smile, your kindness, and your annoying competitiveness are never, ever forgotten. You are missed. Cpl Willard M Powell, 21, of Evansville, Ind.; assigned to the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), Fort Lewis, Wash.; died Aug. 16 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when the enemy attacked using small-arms fire during combat operations in Taramiyah, Iraq. with James and Emily

Remembering a great guy today. And thinking of everyone who misses him.  Will had such a great smile and laugh. He is missed dearly by everyone who knew him and many who have only heard of him.

Thinking of Will.

I hadn't seen or talked to Will since he left ECS, still didn't ease the shock when I heard the news. Always enjoyed playing various sports with and against him when we were kids. He had a crazy competitive streak!

Always remembered brave soldier kia 2007 forever 21 

RIP Brother

I salute you and your fallen brother.


 I love this. What a special way to remember and honor Will (Willard). Thank you.

25 May 2014

The Young Dead Soldiers do not Speak

Remembering the fallen this Memorial Day, 2014.  So many friends gone too soon.  I carry you in my heart.  

The young dead soldiers do not speak.
Nevertheless, they are heard in the still houses:
Who has not heard them?
They have a silence that speaks for them at night,
And when the clock counts.
They say: We were young. We have died.
They say: We have done what we could,
But until it is finished it is not done.
They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished,
No one can know what our lives gave.
They say: Our deaths are not ours: they are yours,
They will mean what you make them.
They say: Whether our lives and our deaths were for,
Peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say,
It is you who must say this.
We leave you our deaths. Give them their meaning.
We were young, they say. We have died;
by Archibald MacLeish, The Young Dead Soldiers

03 April 2014

Sassoon's Declaration: "the callous complacency with which the majority of those at home regard the continuance of agonies which they do not share and which they have not enough imagination to realise."

 “Honor also to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field, and serves, as he best can, the same cause,... who braves, for the common good, the storms of heaven and the storms of battle.” Abraham Lincoln

 I carry that one with me... Sassoon's declaration remains true. Most at home do not share the soldiers'agonies. Most. But not all. I think that is why the feelings of alienation and separation, of being "apart," are so profound for those that do. Not a soldier. But not quite a 'civilian' either. Soldiers can only meet you halfway in terms of 'what it was like' and only the rare civilian can even enter the conversation. And no matter what you did do, it never feels like enough, even when someone hands you a quote to remind you. When it ends there is a gaping hole where that intensity and sense of purpose lived. There is a knot that remains buried within you. The war lives in small things, like hands that shake slightly when the topic comes up. But who will ask the citizen who cared for her brother in the field, who braved the storms that came, why her hands shake? Only her brother. Maybe. Ignorance and casual indifference will mean most of those stories will never be told. After all, the voices of callous complacency say you just sent care packages...

05 March 2014

All of the most important physical items from my war years (photographs, uniforms, war loot, letters, etc) sit in that nondescript tub that was purchased for less than $5 at Walmart. It’s a vital, yet hidden, link to my past....

14 December 2013

Who do you tell

First time writing since my injury.  It's like riding a bike, right?...~wendy

Ten years on this journey.

But who to share it with?  Who can know?

Not the feel good, funny, homecoming, brotherhood side.

The dark. The ugly side.

Ten years of war and it is easy to pick out the soldiers. The warriors.  But there are others equally scarred by its destruction. They are in the background. Families.  Friends. Lovers. The volunteers. Those nameless people doing all they can to help contain, in some small way, all that destruction. But that means letting the destruction in to your own soul as well.

Who tells our stories?

Who knows what we have seen?

What we have heard?

What we have felt.

The things we do not talk about.

You cannot share them at the time.  

We must-- "Keep all communications positive.  To do otherwise is to put your soldier at risk.  Do not be a distraction.  It can get him killed. Listen. Do not judge. Remember your smiles!" 

"Send a themed care package once a month. Make it fun."

"My Hero. Thank You for what you are doing. We support what you are doing.Thank you for your service. You are a Hero." 

What happens when the words have lost their meaning?  When you can no longer ignore the messy darkness shoved behind the boxes and no longer stand the platitudes you are supposed to spout? 

When you can no longer ignore the things that are real.

The killing.  The dying.  The wretched wounded.  The souls torn open.  The shattered minds.

The unrelenting never-ending fucking wastefulness of it all.

Who do you tell?

Very few people want to see the darkness.  It doesn't fit well into their world views.  It is messy.  It isn't nice to look at.  It might make them hurt too.  It is too hard. Some may ask, but then they get that stunned shell shocked look on their faces, so unprepared for the truth.

Ten years is a long time and it all has to go somewhere.  Buried deep. Maybe too deep.  But also right there, just under the surface, if you care to know where to look.

It is all there in the silence.  Bursting out of the footlockers in the garage where I try to leave it.

If you do it right, it is more than you ever expected to see.  More than you were ever prepared for.  More than you know what to do with yourself.  But no one wants to hear about that part.
Don't let things get too heavy.  Lighten it up.
Smiling soldiers with puppies are good for slideshows. No one wants to see the screaming, bleeding ones at your presentation.

Remember, Baking cookies is easier to deal with than the sobs of grown boys.
Do you hear it? 
(The weeping. He killed a man today. His first. I can hear it, ragged breath coming through the ripped open pieces of his soul. The broken pieces spilling out over the phone line to cover me. I hold them in my hands but I do not know how to put him back together.) (The sobbing. Helo crash. A spinning rotor blade will cut right through human flesh.  It doesn't care if that piece of flesh happens to be the face of his best friend.) (The crying. I love you. Jess is dead.)

Squirt guns and school supplies make better stories than talking the rifle out of a man's hands. (Pleading. Praying. ohgodohgod Swearing. putitthefuckdown. Begging. please.please.please.please.don'tdothistome.please.)
(Two days spent waiting for word. Success or failure? Can I live with failure?)

The flags.  The funerals. Their mothers. 
(I sit sometimes, at your grave, W.  I try to tell you these things. But I can't. I'm always empty. Like this place seems empty. I stare blankly at the granite.)

Broken bodies trying to put broken minds back together.

Even when they make it home it isn't always better.  Too many still fight the war. BD. CJ. Too many lose. The number keep rising.  Justin. Mac. It hurts. Oh God. It fucking hurts.

No one tell you that you when you start this that you will get broken too. You will make promises you can't keep. There are things you cannot unhear or unfeel. The Loss. The waiting and the helpless watching.  No ones says you will also touch the black and it will gut you too.

When we started none of us expected to still be doing this 10 year later.  But it didn't end. 

All of these things...who do you tell? 

And how do you walk away?

I made him a promise. Without this I don't know how to keep it.

Perhaps, it is time, though.

All that is left is the doing.
“The war was a long way away. Maybe there wasn't any war. There was no war here. Then I realized it was over for me. But I did not have the feeling that it was really over. I had the feeling of a boy who thinks of what is happening at a certain hour at the schoolhouse from which he has played truant.” 
― Ernest HemingwayA Farewell to Arms