Before now poetry has taken notice
Of wars, and what are wars but politics
Transformed from chronic to acute and bloody?
from "Build Soil"
Robert Frost

Monday, October 01, 2007

... Life Continues

The personal/blog front has had some goings on as well:

Another recent post- Dead Eyes- received a weekly writing award from The Watchers Council.
Other old favorites, including Walker: [Iraqi] Ranger?, Walking on History and War Cocaine
will soon be available alongside many other excellent bits of writing in the upcoming book The Sandbox.

Invisible Keepsakes has been updated with three new posts, and more will be forthcoming.


I've been home for five days now, and I'm mainly occupying myself with beer drinking and lazing around. It's strange to have to contend with the realities of an "ordinary" life- making sure the bills are paid, looking for a new car, buckling up to ride in the car, getting my own mail, etc etc. I looked through some of my pictures and video with a couple friends tonight and felt what I can only describe as homesickness. I'll get over it, I'm sure.

I'm tired already of hearing the same questions from people: "So what's it like?"- you might as well ask an astronaut about the moon. The other standbys of "So are we winning?", "Did you kill anyone?" and "So how bad is it, really?" aren't any better. I realize that such questions reveal what is in many cases an honest desire to understand, but I still find it irritating to answer them over and over. Selfish and irrational, I know. I'm back, and ignorance and curiosity are in full swing.

Please, never ask a soldier if they killed anyone. It's a pointless question, because the ones that have won't want to tell you, and the ones that haven't will be only too happy to spin you a tale that means less than nothing.

17 comments:

  1. Anonymous1/10/07 07:28

    Once again a huge thank you for teaching us here at home how to do better by all of you. You're tremendous! As my family looks ahead to the return of a loved one from the box, I will heed your advise and try to pass it on to as many as I can. I don't know why sometimes it just seems impossible for our brain to tell our mouths to shut! Be patient with us ignorant fools and give yourself time to get in the swing of things!

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  2. Anonymous1/10/07 11:23

    It's a cruel paradox that troops sneer at civilians for "not knowing what it's really like" and then not being able to tell them when they genuinely want to know. Recently I saw a friend who has been "over there" since the beginning. He says the past year has been hard because "we're losing and no one will admit it." That's hard to hear when you know someone has invested so much of himself in the effort. Personally, I can't imagine asking someone if he killed someone. What a personal question. Good luck, TD. We know you're strong!

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  3. Anonymous1/10/07 14:09

    Wow! I wish you had posted this 5 days ago :) I never would have asked my just redeployed brother "Is is as bad as the mainstream media makes it out to be?" But I asked because all the pics I saw when he was gone were very somber and now I see smiling pics. He always spins a great story and his narration of the video someone else took of him was priceless - we laughed so hard.

    Thank you for your service and I'm glad you are home :)

    ~a sister of a soldier

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  4. Isn't it a sad commentary on the MSM that you and others have to be asked those questions. If they were doing their job, everyone would know how things were going over there.

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  5. I read somewhere, I forget where exactly, a question that may be worth asking an Iraq vet, and so I will.
    Out of all the things you did in Iraq, what are you most proud of?

    I'm glad your home. Thanks

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  6. ET USN 71-782/10/07 08:12

    I'm very glad you are home and are enjoying being back.

    Sorry you feel inconvenienced by the questions about your experiences in Iraq. I imagine most of the questioners are well-meaning and sincerely want to know the truth about the situation over there.

    Truth is, even though you are home now, you've only changed locations to a safer environment. The battle for the hearts and minds of Americans continues, and you are involved in this homefront battle whether you want to be or not.

    Rather than be repulsed by this thought, I hope you will be able pick up this effort with the same clarity and purpose you exhibited back in Iraq. Your excellent blog kept a lot of us informed while you were deployed and impacted many others beyond just your direct readership. One difference now is that instead of just the printed/electronic word, you add the one-on-one element. Friends and strangers can now look you in the eye and draw conclusions about your veracity and your opinion about the mission/progress in Iraq, and compare that with what they've heard and read from others, many of whom are extremely biased and misleading.

    Whether you assume this new responsibility or not will not diminish your accomplishments to date. You guys are heros and will be forever.

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  7. A Soldier should never be concered with killing someone.

    They should be very concerned about someone killing them.

    Glad you're home safe and sound TD.

    And thank you.

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  8. Glad your home. My prayers for you and the rest is that you will be able to adjust and still find God's hand upon you. Just because you're "home" doesn't mean we'll ever forget...

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  9. Marieanne2/10/07 19:31

    what mel's mom said.

    And I'm glad to see you're still writing. Keep at it. You've got a rare gift.

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  10. Hubby and I have at times had opportunity to meet some of the soldiers we have adopted. Many times - the "I" (Iraq) word is never (or very seldom) mentioned at all. One time, I spent a whole five days in Missouri with a soldier's mom & dad & family... and not once during that whole time were there any war-related conversations... I figure...if anyone wants me to know anything, they'll tell me. If not, then that's just fine, too. My goal is "unconditional support" -- it's not about me, it's about THEM/Y'ALL. :) It does tick me off to no end when I hear of truly thoughtless questions (not generic, information seeking ones, but the "did you kill anyone" type) asked...grrrr.... anyway, as you can tell i'm overly tired cuz i'm rambling aimlessly, lol....Good night, God bless, and thank you again for all you've done for us.

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  11. I, too, am glad to know you all are back home and I add my thanks for your excellent blog.

    Perhaps if more people were to read the blogs they wouldn't have the need to ask the inane questions. I've heard them asked more times than I care to remember.

    Hopefully those of you who so valiantly choose to serve know that there are some of use around who respect you more than to "go there."

    Mostly I just want you all to know how grateful I am as well as how much I respect and appreciate you all for being the men/women you are. This nation can NEVER do enough to thank our veterans and activity duty personnel for the selfless lives you live and give.

    Welcome home and thank you for both your service and for your blog.

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  12. Welcome home...

    where it is green, quiet, and people are so busy running to McDonalds, that they might run you over to do so.

    Thank you...

    the fog of homecoming will last about 3-6 months I hear...

    oh and I also understand the irritation factor peaks at 4 months..

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  13. L. Racela4/10/07 01:20

    Back home, im gald you are safe. I want to thank you for your service. Im 18 years old and i know that not many teens realize what is going on in the world. It is good to hear that you are safe in your home.

    L. Racela

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  14. I am glad that you have been able to drink your beer at your leisure. It is good that you are able to think about how do interact with other people socially, rather than just whether or not they are going to try to kill you. It all takes time. Be well.

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  15. What!? You're telling us that you don't go around with a notched belt that you take off at every opportunity so that you can boast about the details of your "kills." I'd be disappointed if I weren't the daughter of a soldier (WWII) and didn't know that what you're saying is the absolute truth.

    Glad you're home. Hope that beer tastes good. And don't forget to pay your bills. Not doing so is more hassle than it's worth. (Can you tell I'm a mother?)

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  16. I hope I've never asked you any of these questions. I've tried to be very careful to just let you be...you. I know I can never even begin to understand and I'm just incredibly happy to have you home so I don't have to worry about you (as much) every day. I still worry about you a little bit though, you're kind of a wild man! ;) Much love.

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  17. Just unwind and get back to being yourself again. If you want to talk about it, let it be to someone special, someone who understands you. Thank you for your service and please keep us informed about your wellbeing through your blog.

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