*Warning: Graphic Content
Today I am fortunate enough to be spending Memorial Day with my husband, a former airborne infantryman who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom with the US Army. Perhaps it is because of the short time he has been out, short meaning 8 years. Perhaps it is just the heaviness of war that he does not necessarily look forward to this three day weekend and the arrival of Memorial Day as "Lake Day." His PTSD probably doesn't look forward to joining a large group of people to "celebrate" either. And we usually don't do that on this day. I took this picture from our trip out to a memorial and did it up for an article I wanted to post. This was his reaction when he saw the photo:
"Not all kids have the freedom to play safely in this world, my son does. That picture reminds me of these two boys in Baghdad. In that city, the Iraqi army left a bunch of mines in the soccer fields, and the kids wanted to move them out so they could play. They thought they were just big pieces of steel. The mine was the size of a flour tortilla box, and weighed about 15-20 lbs. One day, 2 kids started bringing a mine towards us, they thought they were helping us by giving it to us. It went off. When we looked up, the little boy was blown up, and his brother behind him was thrashed through the stomach causing his intestines to fall out. When they fall out they inflate. Their parents came, and he was still alive as they got home to his house. He was unconscious, and the special forces guy put him back together...he stitched him up and used blood from the parents. 2 weeks later as we left Baghdad to Mosul, we saw he was still alive and taking his medicine. He was probably eight years old. His bother was about 12 who died in the blast. The same age my sons are today, in this picture.
We tried to warn them, but they kept moving towards us to hand us this mine... We yelled "no no no no!" "Put it down" "run away, go away!" with drastic hand gestures. Nothing could make them stop until it exploded. I remember when that was now, just a few days before my birthday, April 7, 2003. 24 about to turn 25 years old."