Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day, Part II

Those of you who haven't had a chance to read my Memorial Day Memoir, click here.  For some reason today, I'm getting a little choked up thinking about Captain Doug DiCenzo.  Maybe it's because I like to hang a flag on our door for Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, and 4th of July.  Anna asked me if I was hanging it for Father's Day, and I explained to her what Memorial Day is and reminded her about Captain Doug and Mrs. Nicole.  Many of you know the story.  Capt. Doug and Nicole lived below us in Germany.  We spent every day together.  Just thinking about their laughter and his bright presence walking into a room got me teared up. Even though it will be 8 years on Sunday since he was killed, my brain still can't make sense of it.  Hearing those words in my head again "Doug was killed" triggered something in me today, and back then it shattered that assumption that both of our husbands would come home and we would pick up life where we left off.
Last Memorial Day I was sobbing in church during the service as they have people stand who have lost family.  It really is a sacrifice.  I wish I were naïve to this side of life, but I also am thankful that we have a deep understanding.  I understand many people lose spouses and parents to car accidents and cancer, and those are all terrible things.  My heart grieves deeply for you.  It's a different realm to have some insight into the atrocities of war.  The true realization of evil in the world.  An Iraqi insurgent used a bomb to blow up Doug and his gunner.  You hope and pray they come home, but it happens so fast, there's no time to even pray they will get better.   Then Nicole's whole life changed.  We packed her up, had the service and she was on her way back to the United States to figure out what she would do next.
Some other things have gotten me thinking.  A few weeks ago we went to our local art museum, The Frist.  They have a Steve Mumford War Journals exhibit. 

He used water color to show his observations while being imbedded among soldiers in Baghdad, Iraq.  I started going through the exhibit alone, and I couldn't believe my eyes when I came across this picture and description that tells a story I had heard about first hand.

Another soldier from Ramadi who Scott remembered
We were continents apart, but I remember Scott telling me about this incident and how many men, women, and children were affected.  He was thankful to be there, because he could help triage the children. Words cannot describe the strange, stunning, feelings while looking at a picture hanging in an art museum that Steve painted in a hospital in Baghdad to represent the story of what happened in Ramadi hours earlier--a moment in time in which my husband was one of the first to touch these people 7 years ago.  He painted the "after" while my husband was at the "before."
The week after seeing this exhibit, we traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas to see Scott's family.  Our sister-in-law's parents' house was damaged in the tornado the previous week.  (I wrote about this a little bit here).  We had only seen pictures online, but we chose to drive a little out of the way to see what Mayflower looked like now.  You are not allowed to drive through the neighborhoods, but we had talked to Scott's uncle who had been helping through Samaritan's Purse as they were going house by house to help clean up the extraordinary amount of debris piled up--there is a LOT of work to do.  These are the pictures from I-40 as we drove by.  They really don't show it well, but Scott said this truly is what a war-zone looks like (except for the tree stumps).  It's brown, almost looks burned out, and the only words to describe it are devastation and destruction.  This actually gave him some flash-backs.  I've always heard people describe scenarios as looking like a "war-zone" but the definition is true.  I am sad to think about the loss of life and rebuilding that people will continue to struggle with for awhile.

Thanks for bearing with me as I think aloud.  Sometimes this blog helps me record thoughts that have been in my head for awhile that I'd like to share, but it may not be significant to many others ;)  Although a storm caused this, may we remember and be grateful this is not what America looks like because of those who have protected our country and the ideals upon which our country was founded.  May we continue to reach out to those affected by this devastation and those who have lost family who were defending our safety.

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