Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Where is Daniel Now?

Each and every one of those that has been wounded or killed in Iraq has been someone's brother, son, daughter, uncle, cousin, friend, or workmate, but not mine, until now. Statistics and photos and interviews with grieving relatives are all sad and a reminder to me of the failure of my generation to stand up and say: "We learned from Vietnam and we will not let it happen again." I will leave it to historians to explain why it is so many people were silent about this war. Muttering perhaps to themselves or a few friends but for the most part shrugging their shoulders and getting on with their lives. That is the luxury of a war fought far away.

The last time I saw Daniel he was working at Burger King. I went to see him along with his sister--his proud, older sister. We all knew that flipping burgers was not a life time career, but he was equal parts embarrassed and proud that his sister came to see him and brought me with her. I later heard that he had followed his older brother into the military. And then, with my heart in my throat, I heard that both brothers were in Iraq.

So it was a shock but not a surprise when I got 2 emails. One from a friend of a friend alerting me to the first news about Daniel and then the one from his sister. It was simple, factual, sent to many friends and family. Daniel had been hit by an IED--a tidy acronym that belies the power and the anger behind its creation. "An IED is an improvised explosive device," my daughter explains. "Why don't they just call it a bomb?" my grandson asks. Seeing the tears in my eyes, my daughter tries to deflect the question, but it is a good one and like so many others, deserves a good answer. A better one than I can give it.

Someone's brother, son, daughter, uncle, cousin, friend, or workmate applied their creativity to manufacture something to wound, maim, or kill as many other humans as possible. And Daniel in an instant was converted from a brother to a target. According to my friend's email, the IED caused damage to "his legs, shoulder, neck and head and he has been in and out of surgery for the past two days. The head injury caused him to have a small stroke. The doctors tested his ability to move arms, legs, etc. and everything seems fine. Daniel is currently in the hospital in Germany and it looks like they will be flying the family out. He is currently in a drug induced coma and is in stable condition."

She asked for prayers and to be remembered. I wholeheartedly send my prayers for Daniel and his family and friends and all the people in harm's way in that terrible conflict. Whatever comfort I had in the distance of the war has now been lost to me. Perhaps only when each and every family has been touched directly will we be able to bring them all home. I hope not.


At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am truly sorry. I hope for his eventual full recovery.

At 1:48 AM, Blogger Hayden said...

Oh damn. I'm so sorry.

At 10:14 PM, Blogger ZACL said...

I hope not, too.

I would ask why volunteer for this war in the first place and at this time? We have kids here who are volunteering for the military, a job, some training for a future they hope they will have; I wonder how many are really volunteering knowingly, for a war.

In my Xmas gifts from the USA I received a calendar which has sold out. It depicts GW Bush with cartoon conversation balloons in which there are diabolically contrived Bushisms. As I said, this merchandise has sold out; what a terrible level for a president to publicly sink to.

I have to say, whatever I think of a leader, even GWB, this type of low level mockery (lampooning is too sophisticated a term for this stuff)is not quite to my taste.

I hope Daniel will make a good recovery.

At 11:42 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

Thanks for your good wishes. Daniel is doing better and his prognosis looks good.
I think zacl, folks volunteer for the military for a mixture of reasons--patriotism, honor, or a way to have a better world for themselves and for others. And in the military as in many other places, there if often a gap between our best intentions and events.

At 12:35 AM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

Some volunteer for the education. I suppose to varying degrees they conscioussly risk their lives and limbs for that possibility.

At 7:12 AM, Blogger Hayden said...

often there's an economic issue: lack of opportunity. If what's in front of you isn't much, the military can look good. Many joined directly after 9/11 from lofty motives of patriotism and the will to serve.
Of course... then there are the folks who NEVER volunteered for the military, but served at home - we all thought - in the national guard, ready to help in times of local emergency. They got shipped over too. Leaving precious little in terms of trained talent to deal with small matters like.... Katrina?

I'm so glad to hear that Daniel is doing better. My thoughts are with him and his family.


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