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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Trueman's LiveJournal:

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    Saturday, August 9th, 2008
    4:03 am
    The Innevitable Missteps of Insomnia
    It's all there, still.  It sits inside me, coiled up like a snake.  It blends in, forgotten, camouflaged so I forget it's there; I forget until the wrong thought brings me too close.  Then I can hear it, rattling its tail.  Warning me to turn back to more mundane thoughts.  I never do though.  Maybe that's why I've done so much better than most.  I keep going, I replay the moments, one after another, in order.  I try to remember every sensation, every sight and sound and smell.  Sometimes I picture it from the eyes of one of the others, opening the wounds in a brand new way as I try to step into their own unique suffering.

    I follow it through every time and every time it sinks its teeth into me, filling me with its darkness.  Sometimes it's a sadness, welling up as if those tears I choked back so long ago had fallen inside of me and never stopped.  Other times it's a rage, sudden and powerful; at myself for perceived, irrational failings, at Robert for never wearing his god-damned chin strap, at the army for discharging me; I want to break something, something beautiful, something functional, something to make people fear what might be inside me.  It circulates within me, filling me with longing and regret and ridiculous thoughts of somehow returning to the military to get back there and complete some unfinished task I can't quite remember.

    It consumes me until the most curious thing happens: my mind wanders on to something else.  Between violent images and heroic re-imaginings I remember that I'm out of milk.  I stress slightly over my lack of work hours and wonder if my leftovers are still good.  I try to hang on to the darkness but it dissipates.  The color returns to the world and I'm myself again.

    It's all there, still.  It sits inside me and waits guarding that dark corner of my heart; but it can't hurt me, and as long as I'm not afraid to keep walking when I hear that rattle, it can never control me.

    Current Mood: tired
    Thursday, April 6th, 2006
    1:47 pm
    Eternal youth for the price of a mortar round
    Today, as I sat in my little office, searching the internet instead of doing my work, I decided to Google Robert's name. This is something I do on a fairly regular basis when I'm bored. This time I clicked on the first link, his page on arlingtonnationalcemetery.net. The site had been updated quite a bit since I'd last checked it. I scrolled down to see how long it had gotten and then I went back to the top and started to read. I only got two sentences in before I was stopped cold by four words "Wise, 21, of Tallahassee."

    21...Collapse )

    Current Mood: sad
    Friday, March 24th, 2006
    8:32 am
    Finally
    CS/SB 122 - Tuition Waivers/Purple Heart

    GENERAL BILL by Education Appropriations and Fasano (CO-SPONSORS) Lynn; Atwater
    Tuition Waivers/Purple Heart: requires state universities & community colleges to waive tuition for recipient of Purple Heart or other combat decoration superior in precedence who fulfills specified criteria; provides percentage cap on number of required credit hours for which tuition waiver may be received. Amends 1009.26.
    Effective Date: 07/01/2006

    Last Event: 03/23/06 S CS passed; YEAS 38 NAYS 0 on Thursday, March 23, 2006 10:36 AM

    Ever since returning home following my discharge, the hardest part about returning to civilian life has been getting back into school. Last march, as I was attempting to re-enroll, I found out that since I was no longer a member of the Florida National Guard (due to my injuries received in combat,) I was no longer eligible for the state tuition waiver. I Immedieately wrote every legislator who's district I fell in to. All my federal congressmen told me that it was, unfortunately, a state issue but they'd be glad to help me in any way they could which was pretty much a "tough luck kid." My State reps were eager to help but the 2005 session was just ending. So, I waited. I made damn sure there was going to be a bill to fix this damn loophole and for the next year I worked and struggled to pay my own tuition. Now, at last, by a unanimous vote, the Florida senate passed the bill into law. Florida residents who earn a purple heart are entitled to an in-state tuition waiver. Now I just need to wait for Fall of 2007 when the bill takes a effect.

    Current Mood: Mediocre
    Monday, December 26th, 2005
    12:57 pm
    My Goodbye
    After Robert died they held a solemn memorial service for him at the compound. They erected the standard remembrance consisting of a rifle with fixed bayonet planted muzzle down in the ground, a kevlar helmet resting atop the butt-stock, a pair of dog-tags hanging from the pistol grip and a pair of boots sitting in front. The flags of Florida and the US sat still and motionless in the background as the chaplain said his words. A couple of his closest friends got up to eulogize their buddy, Then, one by one the soldiers of A-co filed by to pay their respects. It was tough for everyone and a few guys gave in to their grief, allowing tears to run down their dust-covered cheeks.

    They said their goodbyes, wiped away the tears and returned to duty. After that, there could be no more grieving. When you live in a combat zone, if your mind isn’t there on that street then the next upturned rifle might be your own. In war, to dwell on the dead is to endanger the living. Still, they’d had their chance to grieve and for most that was enough to carry them through the deployment.

    ***
    In Tallahassee, a crowd numbering in the hundreds gathered in the main hall of the National Guard armory. The symbolic rifle, kevlar, boots and dog tags sat at the front of a dozen rows of folding chairs. A large photo of Robert sat on a stand by a podium and a projector flashed images from Robert’s life on the wall. One after another, people stepped up to the podium to speak, a chaplain, a general, a sergeant major, a congresswoman. They gave speeches that would have made Robert scoff. Then his parents; his father’s emotional speech drew tears and applause from the crowd. When his mother spoke, however, standing before the crowd full of soldier's family members, she told them, in an unwavering voice, that it was okay to be relieved it wasn’t their son. She spoke of the bond she and her son shared and Robert’s commitment to his duty. Through her words she absolved scores of wives and mothers of their guilt. She held firm that night, a beacon of strength for a shaken homefront.

    ***
    A few days later, on a chill winter afternoon, a much smaller crowd gathered at Arlington cemetery. Robert’s mother wore a very different face as six men in crisp blue uniforms carried her sons casket to it's final resting place. With sharp, measured precision, they folded the flag that had accompanied him back from Iraq. Then, as a lone bugler played his haunting melody, seven soldiers raised and fired their rifles. One… Two… Three shots each. Each blast shattering the calm of the somber field, a stark contrast to the gentle mourning call of the bugle. Finally with a shell from each volley tucked into it’s folds, the casket flag was presented to Tammy. Now, so far from the crowd who needed her strength, she cried, sobbing with the tears that only a grieving mother can know.

    ***
    During each of these memorials, I was in a hospital bed. I lay wrapped in my sterile sheets with my foot encased in plaster and gauze as a parade of doctors, chaplains, officers and counselors asked me if I’d had a chance to speak with anyone. As I lay there however, trying to make sense of the events through a haze of morphine and torridol, all I really wanted was a sign that he was really gone and maybe, a chance to say goodbye.

    For two years, this haunted me. In my mind, I’d left Robert there in Baghdad that day. It was the only place I’d ever really known him. Removed from the context of our friendship, I was never confronted with his absence. Although I wasn’t in denial, acceptance was far from closure. Finally, this past November, on the two-year anniversary of his death, I made my way to Arlington. There, on a perfect Saturday afternoon, I sat by his simple white headstone. I didn’t cry; the pastoral beauty of Arlington was infinitely removed from the world of Robert’s death. Still as I sat on his grave and stared into the cloudless sky I felt like he was there with me. When I left Arlington that day, for the first time in two years, I knew where Robert was and I could finally say goodbye.
    Thursday, December 1st, 2005
    2:46 pm
    While I was in the spanish lab today I noticed that the guy in front of me was wearing a silver bracelet like the one I wear for Wise. I couldn't quite make out the words on it but I could tell it wasn't one of the Wise bracelets and I think I saw the word Nasiriah. Odds are he was a vet like me who'd lost a buddy. I kind of wanted to say something to him, just ask him if he was a vet. The language lab isn't really a place to chat though and I wasn't about to ask him to step outside to chat.

    It was just kind of weird to realize this guy was a vet. He looked about my age and didn't have that look that guys who are actually in the military or the guard do. Plus it's not the kind of place where you expect to meet a veteran. I guess that's what it must be like for everyone else when they find out that I'm a vet.

    I suppose that although everyone is aware that there is a war going on and that that that war is fought by an army which is composed primarily of young men, it's so far removed from the context of our daily lives that it's strange to meet someone who was actually a part of it.

    Current Mood: Fine
    2:42 pm
    Right On Man
    Yesterday I backed into a parking space in front of a couple of surveyors doing whatever it is they do with that little telescope thing and as I was getting out one of them said "hey are you the purple heart?"

    I told him I was and he said "right on... at least I guess it's right on."

    I laughed and said that yes, it is right on.

    Current Mood: decent
    Thursday, November 17th, 2005
    11:57 am
    This week on This American Life
    I finally got word that my piece is going to be broadcast this weekend. The show will be on at different times depending on location but it'll be sometime time between friday and sunday and it'll be available on real audio at their website thisamericanlife.com. I don't know how long it'll be but they had me read a few different entries and they said it turned out well.

    Current Mood: optimistic
    Tuesday, October 18th, 2005
    4:07 pm
    Last night, as I dried off in front of the bathroom mirror, and the towel covered my chest, I stopped for a moment. I wondered if the tattoo that bears Robert's name was still there. I imagined that if I were to move the towel, then that image of the upturned rifle and ownerless helmet would be gone. Maybe I would be that carefree, bare chested 19 year old that I remember. Maybe it would have all been a dream.

    This is, of course, a silly line of thinking and no good could come of it. The towel moved, the tattoo was still there. So I finished drying off, rubbing the tattoo until it was bright pink and warm and stinging. I climbed into bed and as I lay there I thought about that day. I hadn't given it a good ammount of thought in a while so I figured I should, if I don't do it often enough details start to get foggy.

    As I lay there, I let the memories come back, bright and vivid. It had been awhile since I'd really relived it so I decided to analyze it, like a game. I tried to remember it in as much detail as I could, not just the things that come up when I think about it in passing or when I tell the story one more time. I tried to remember exactly what that first blast had felt like. What had my mouth tasted like as it filled with dust and blood? Exactly how far away was the next vehicle and how long did it take me to crawl out of that gun turret onto the hood of the Humvee?

    My heart beat fast as I tried to remember what Robert's unconcious face looked like. What did I say when I saw he wasn't moving? I said something; I might have said "oh shit," or "oh no, Robert!" but I never called him Robert, that couldn't have been it.

    Then I felt that same sick shame when I remembered Matt asking me to help him move Robert. "I can't," I told him, "I think my foot's broken." And I hopped off leaving the skinny filipino medic to move Robert's fat ass by himself. It wasn't broken of course, that was when I noticed the hole in my boot and the blood coming out in a small, steady stream. I remeber taking my boot off, and the smell of my own burning flesh; I almost cried when they served me chicken on the flight to germany, it smelled like my foot. The shrapnel was still in there. I didn't take my white cotton sock off cause it was fused to the piece of shrapnel and the burn surrounding it. We weren't supposed to wear white socks but, honestly, who'd ever know? Of course, the front half of the sock was red where the blood had pooled in the toe of my boot.

    I thought about how horrible I must have looked as I sat there on the ground. Half my face was soaked in blood so no one could tell by looking at me whether it was even still there. For the first time, I considered how the commander must have felt when he arrived on the scene and I shouted "Hey sir, I got a purple heart!" The uncomfortable look on his face was priceless as he walked by and muttered something encouraging. He probably couldn't even tell who I was.

    I went through it all in varying degrees of detail, right up to the point when the morphine kicked in, in the blackhawk, somewhere over the city, when it all becomes a bit hazy.

    Of course, once the game was over, it wasn't easy to fall asleep. I laid there for a while, staring up at the ceiling fan, remebering that scene from that movie where the guy stares at his fan and remembers the helicopters. Eventually I drifted off, but as often happens when I think this way, it was a haunted sleep. I don't actually remember any of the nightmares, I never do, but some one sleeping in the next room told me they heard me shouting. I feel like I was up all night.

    Current Mood: Fatigued
    3:25 pm
    This story isn't over after all.
    When I stopped writing in this journal, I figured that this part of my story was over. I knew that there would be new trials to face as I waited for my discharge and an epic journey through the bowels of the veterans administration as I sought my disability claim; still, I figured Baghdad was behind me and so I moved on to my mundane journal. Despite my best efforts, however, the experiences of that day two years ago are still a driving force in my day to day life.

    Since I was discharged from the army last November, I've gone through a difficult cycle of emotions. At times, when I'm the busiest or the distractions of life and relationships take center stage, my time in Baghdad and Robert's death are just significant events in my past. There are times, though, where it becomes more than that. Sometimes the stream of thoughts and questions become so constant that they almost hijack my senses.

    Now as I'm coming up on two years since my injury and one year since my discharge, the feelings are surfacing once again. It started with a renewed pattern of thought. Thinking about school, thinking about the army, thinking about Robert. I booked plane tickets for November for my first trip to see his grave at Arlington. Gradually, the thoughts begin to intrude more and more; not just thoughts about the army and Robert but questions about what I did, what I should have done and of course, the deadly and unforgiving what if's. For the most part I retain my rationality. I know the sensible point of view and try to explain it to my self. I tell the thoughts that they're wasting they're time cause there's no reason I would take them seriously. Still, gradually they get me.

    I don't know what it is at first. I'm not getting enough sleep but it's only cause I'm not going to bed when I should. It's okay though, I'll make it up tomorrow, or this weekend. I don't though. I'm staying up when there's no reason to or when I do go to bed, I can't fall asleep right away. Most of the time I'm not even thinking of anything significant. I get tired and irritable, some times I'm so tired that I'm sure I'll be in bed at 8:00; at 10:00 I don't feel so tired.

    It comes and goes. It takes a few weeks to get bad. Eventually as the fatigue worsens, the feelings get more intense. Perhaps emboldened by my weakened mental state, the feelings start harassing me more frequently till they become my default line of thinking.

    I don't know, as I type this it's sounding, in some ways, worse than it really is. Still it's a significant issue. I've been seeing a vet counselor on and off for a while now and I'll be starting to go to a group meeting soon. It's just something that I'll have to accept as a very real and significant part of my life. As such, I'm going to start writing in Rebelcoyote again. Not often but whenever I feel like this side of my life needs an outlet. I've had a few experiences that I feel like I should write about. I know that this is a problem that people have dealt with for a long time and now, a whole new generation of people are dealing with it. Who knows, maybe this will help some of them as well.

    Current Mood: tired
    Thursday, February 17th, 2005
    9:19 am
    Last Night I had a dream. I made a wish that things had been different, that Robert and I had never Switched places that morning. As I wished this, a deep bellowing caw cut through the air and A crow flew down from the dusk sky to light on my arm.Read more...Collapse )

    Current Mood: good
    Wednesday, January 26th, 2005
    3:49 pm
    Final
    It's been 14 months since I was wounded. I'm home now, living with one of my closest friends, emmycantbemeeko, dating a really great girl, sunrise_sinner, who I've known for some time now but only recently became involved with. Life's getting slowly back to normal as I settle into my routine and reacquaint myself with Tallahassee, but it's been a long road.

    I spent several months in the hospital recovering from my injuries and even after being released from the hospital I was on and off crutches twice spending nearly 7 months between the metal kickstands.

    Now, what most people don't realize about getting wounded, is that you don't go home as soon as your out of the hospital. No, you go to a wonderful place called med hold. Med hold is basically a military unit. A company like any other in its structure, except that it's composed entirely of outpatient soldiers. Soldiers with injuries that make them ineffective for their normal duties; or who are awaiting processing through the military's medical discharge system.

    The system of holding onto soldiers until they complete the odyssey that is army medical treatment, is all well and good for active soldiers. They're still at their post where they lived before it happened, their life is different only because they're in a different unit.

    For us national guardsmen, however, it means spending months (6 months to a year if awaiting a medical discharge) away from your home, your friends, your family. 5 hours away in my case but far more for other guardsmen from places much further south in Florida.

    For me, the medical board proceedings kept me at Fort Gordon until the 23rd of November. 3 days after my 1 year woundiversary. I coped by driving home nearly every weekend for months, 10 hours a week; over 20,000 miles on my vehicle. It was hard, there were times when the separation and boredom left me cripplingly depressed. Even after med-hold sent me to work at the legal assistance office I found myself missing home constantly. Eventually, however, I made friends, I picked up some hobbies, I got to know Augusta and I was able to ride out the final months of my captivity.

    Now, I'm out of the army, 100% civilian. I walk without a limp, I skate as well as I ever could. I wasn't able to enroll in school for various timing related reasons, but I'll soon be working again and come next semester I'll be back in the fray. I'll never run again beyond the short jogs that make up the average american's cardio for the day, but if you met me, you would never know that I'm a combat wounded veteran who the Army has declared 20% disabled.

    So thank you to everyone still out there who sent me letters and packages and moral support. This is my final entry; it only seems fitting since I'm starting a new life after 2 years away with the army. For those who are interested I've started a new journal for my mundane, infrequent postings. It can be found at sandwichmcgyver.

    P.S. No, I can't ever be sent back, everyone asks me this question. Army contracts come with a certain inactive reserve commitment, which, until recently, was never used. I, however have been completely discharged from the army on the grounds that I am no longer physically capable of doing the job I was trained for. No, what if's no "but can't they..."'s I am totally useless as a soldier and the army wouldn't take me back if I begged them.
    Wednesday, May 5th, 2004
    7:26 pm
    I Went on Over 200 patrols and nothing serious ever happened. That is until one day...
    One of the scariest things about being in Baghdad was that it was not a war zone. Although the US forces were taking casualties at a steady rate of about 2 per day, our mission continued on without any great consequence. We patrolled, we went on occaisional raids, we'd do vehicle checkpoints; day to day life was not a battle. We'd watch movies in our off time, surf the internet at the computer lab, play video games, even talk on the phone occaisionally; when we patrolled, the iraqi's of our sector were mostly friendly or indifferent twoards our presence. A great deal were relieved to see us on the streets since our regular patrols kept their sector safe from the kinds of rampant crime that occured in areas were soldiers were spread a bit more thin. Believe it or not, we really did play with children and give out candy just like the news reports showed. Still, the fact that life could be so routine was frightening in it's own way. We'd always hear when a soldier was killed and if it was in Baghdad, we'd wonder how close it had been to us. When the turkish embassy was bombed right inside our Bravo Comppany's sector, it was a heavy reminder that we were as emersed in the violence as soldiers in more dangerous parts of the country. It didn't get to us, though, it didn't effect our jobs. Still, in the months that we were there there wasn't a single time we went out that I wasn't aware that every bush and pile of trash we drove or walked by could have a bomb in it; unfortuneately the last time, one did.

    With all the fighting that's been going on in places like Fallujah and Najaf, it's easy to get this image in our heads of an urban vietnam where forces of both sides are roaming around the streets constantly on the verge of battle; Places like Baghdad, however are still massive cities with millions of people and thousands upon thousands of troops. When you walk down the street, there'll be hundreds of people out, vendors selling things, men smoking and drinking tea, children playing, running up to ask for candy. For every soldier that dies there can be a thousand patrols in Baghdad, and a hundred different convoys; the scariest thing is that when it happens you can't be truly ready. You can't be poised for an immenent strike every time you go out because you can only be in a 100% defensive posture for so long.

    The funny thing is, I always felt far safer on foot then in vehicles, and many soldiers will tell you the same thing. When your on foot, it's difficlt to target more than one soldier at a time. Our spread out formations mean that explosives can't hit more than one of us; plus, our accuracy isn't affected much by the 10 to 25 meter incrememnts between men wheras the average Iraqi man with a hip fired AK-47 won't hit anything past 25 meters. Vehicles however are juicy targets: they're large, they hold 3 to 5 people within 2 meters of each other and they travel on narrow pathways. Still, the sheer number of soldiers present and the massive, and neccessary volume of convoy traffic makes vehicle bombings and ambushes nearly impossible to prevent; to the average soldier who may ride 15 times a week they seem both isolated and innevitble; too infrequent to alter your routine, too common to allow you to relax.

    For most soldiers, life is a daily routine; one of complicated interactions, balancing peace and order; one of difficult emotions and a constant struggle to find some kind of normalcy and comfort. A life led waiting, always ready in the back of their minds for that incedent that could change their lives forever, or end it completely.
    Monday, May 3rd, 2004
    7:44 pm
    The Ramblings of an Old Vet
    With the way things have been going with the war in Iraq, more people than ever have become interested in hearing a “soldiers perspective.” Yet I find myself answering the most complicated questions with the most dilute answers. It’s hard to describe the experience of being an occupying soldier in a foreign city. One separated from your home by an ocean, a culture and thousands of years of history; it’s even harder to explain the feelings and reactions of the Iraqi people. Their’s is a complicated society as culturally and ethnically diverse as almost any other; Of course, coming from a nation with such a unique extreme of national diversity, it’s difficult for many to understand this. To generalize the feelings of the Iraqi people by saying the Iraqi people are ready for this and the Iraqi people are tired of that is to boil down an issue of the utmost complexity to a level which can’t possible do justice to the severity of it’s many dilemmas. Simplified questions get simplified answers and the path we tread there is anything but simple.

    Iraq is much like the US in that it’s impossible to get all the people to agree on anything. There’s the obvious gap between the Shiites and the Sunni’s a generational gap between those who remember the old Iraq (pre-Saddam) and those who don’t, and a rapidly widening gap between the religious and the secular. The already strong western influence on the secular culture is becoming more prominent as more and more people gain access to uncensored internet and sattelite TV but the sway of the Faith increases as well as people turn to the mosques for support during this difficult time. You’ve got business owners who’ll support anything as long as it’s making them money, you have farmers who don’t care who’s running the country as long as their irrigation pumps have water and they’re getting the supplemental rations they’ve relied on for the last 12 years. You have average citizens who want national strength and independence but are far more worried about the safety of their family and their ability to provide for them.

    I don’t even know where I’m going with this anymore. I used to worry that the people back home didn’t have an accurate understanding of the situation in Iraq. We really did have a trust and a peace established with the people in most of the country. The attacks that were happening were coming from a determined minority, a small group. But now I feel like thanks to a series of mistakes, we’ve seriously damaged that trust. Insurgents will always be a minority but if you piss off enough of the indifferent majority you’ll have an angry plurality; if we don’t have a working relationship with the people on the streets the insurgents will find it that much easier to fight us.
    Wednesday, April 14th, 2004
    2:11 pm
    No it's not my grandfather's car!
    I went to the tag office today and got my purple heart liscense plate. It turns out that getting wounded entitles you to free liscense plates for the rest of your life! Plus Georgia waives some of the state taxesfor vehicle registration.

    Handicapped parking sticker, free liscense plates and a pimpin' new cane! This just keeps getting better and better!

    Current Mood: pleased
    Monday, March 22nd, 2004
    7:21 pm
    Ive been without consistent internet access for some time now, byut thanks to the miracle of WiFi Im back on the intranet. And I even have a working email adress again, Rebelcoyote@hotmail.com
    6:36 pm
    The Face of a Statistic
    I can’t remember his name but his face is still strong in my memory, I believe he was called Mohamed. He was our youngest interpreter at 18 and one of my favorite people to work with. He was a short young man with a thin mustache, glasses and a distinctively boyish voice. He was shy and quiet most of the time but was always happy to talk with someone. He was every bit the perfect foil for the other young interpreter Omar, who I’ve written about before; Whereas Omar was a tall, charismatic, confident youth who’d strut around in a tank top and hang out like one of the guys, Mohamed was small and reserved, always dressed neatly in khakis and a button down shirt and extremely polite, calling everyone sir. Mohamed always worked nights and through conversations with him, I learned that he attended high school during the day and walked to work at night from his home which was across the river and at least a couple miles a way.

    Mohamed said he liked working at the compound; the pay was good, the job was easy and liked having the chance to use his English. It also helped to support his family; They weren’t poor by any means, or at least they didn’t sound like it the way he talked, but he was the only man in the house living with his mother and two sisters. He didn’t say what happened to his father and I didn’t ask. I often wondered what it must be like to come up as the only boy of a fatherless family in a Muslim culture. If it had been difficult, Mohamed never gave any indication, he was always positive, always helpful, always smiling.

    Several months ago, Mohamed was eating at a café when some of the guys came by on patrol. He came out and talked to them for a few minutes then went back inside finished his food and left. Im not sure how they would know, but they say that when he left a group of men followed him out of the café. They found him dead in an alley the next day, murdered for working with the Americans.

    There’s no postscript for this story, no message, no commentary about honor or duty or societal values. I just found out that someone I was friends with is dead; his family without a father is now without a son. You can take what you want from this story, I know there’s hundreds more like it but I can’t look at it politically and I no longer have the emotional strength to analyze the death of a friend.

    Current Mood: morose
    Monday, February 16th, 2004
    6:48 pm
    The Red Badge Of Poor Timing
    Over the last few months, I’ve thought a lot about the wars we’ve fought. Although I’m aware of the significance of the conflict I was involved in I never fired a shot. I didn't do anymore than any of the other guys in my unit and even though I was wounded, my purple heart merely reflects unfortunate timing. People wonder how the traumatic attack and the loss of a close friend will affect me but although it’s been difficult, I can’t help but think about the men who saw a dozen friends fall around them as they stormed a muddy trench in France, or lost both legs to a landmine in the jungles of Vietnam. I’ve been through a lot in the last year but I’ve become acutely aware of the fact that there are tens of thousands of men out there who’ve been through far worse campaigns and lived through incidents as bad, or worse than mine half a dozen times or more.

    The next time you think about the war going on today, whatever you may think of it, remember that there’s thousands of soldiers out there who’ve fought, and suffered, and lost more than we know, many of whom came home only to be cursed at and then quietly forgotten. Remember them now and as today’s soldiers return, regardless of how you feel about politicians and foreign policy, just be glad that there are men and women out there willing to serve their country as soldiers. Be grateful because there may come a day when your very way of life is threatened and it will be those people who will answer the call, it will be those soldiers that defend us.

    Current Mood: Reflective
    6:44 pm
    The conversation started, as most do these days, with him asking me what happened to my foot. He was an old man and a veteran, as were all the old men here at the hospital but unlike most people, he wasn’t surprised when I told him how I’d been injured.

    “I took one piece of shrapnel here,” he said, pointing to the side of his mouth. “Blew part of my face off from here to here,” he gestured from the corner of his mouth to his jawbone.

    “Wow,” I said, as any more significant words escaped me. I looked closely at his face and noticed for the first time the large dimple that extended from the left side of his mouth, I hadn’t even noticed the scar until he mentioned it and I told him as much.

    “Yeah, most people don’t,” he replied.

    “When did it happen?” I asked. I didn’t know the man’s age but I was guessing Korean War, or possibly Vietnam at an older age.

    “1945” he said. He didn’t look like a man near 80. I was surprised. I’d never met a WWII combat vet before.

    “Where were you at? “ I asked.

    “A little Island in the pacific called Iwo Jima,” He said.

    I listened intently as he described the type of land mine that had wounded him; how you could tell by the thickness of the lead casing whether they were anti-personnel, vehicle or armor and what he’d seen one of the big ones do to an M-4 tank, and what the one that he met did to him.

    “What most people don’t realize,” he said finally, “Is that it’s not the getting wounded that hurts the worst, it’s the recovery.”
    Thursday, January 15th, 2004
    1:39 am
    21st Birthday Extravaganza
    My father made it down here today around 4 which was great cause that was about when I was waking up. He took me out to best buy where I did some shopping then we went to the movies and saw Action Movie #47627 also called Paycheck starring Ben Afleck. It was as good as could be expected, I was entertained although I think I got as much entertainment per second from the 20 minutes of previews as I did from the movies. Afterwards, we got pizza then I returned to my room to play with my new scanner.

    *Geek Warning* I'm about to wax intelligent about the zombie movie genre, I wouldn't suggest reading this unless you really liked Night of the Living Dead

    Now, anyone here a George Romero Fan? He's the man behind Night of the Living Dead, and for those of you who are slightly more enlightened, Dawn of the Dead which in my opinion, is the height of psychological horror, and the enjoyable but less impressive Day of the Dead. Well at the movies tonight there was a preview for a new Dawn of the Dead. Now I have mixed feelings about remakes but I always love a good zombie movie(believe it or not I differentiate between the good zombie movies and the bad ones.) My question, however, is, when did zombies learn to run? When did they go from shuffling and moaning to running and snarling? It looked from the quick snippets in the trailer, like these were gonna be the crazed rabid running zombies like in 28 Days Later (decent but dissapointing). Maybe it's just where our quick cut high speed, bullet time movie culture is headed, but I personally find the slow, mindless, inexorable tide of the damned to be just about the scarriest thing in cinema past or present. You can get away from a traditional zombie easily and one zombie is easily dispatched but where are you gonna go? They just keep coming, you have to stop running eventually and there's always more! Zombies with human speed and, heaven forbid, adrenaline strength, would spread rapidly and make quick work of everyone. Seriously though, if you haven't seen Dawn of the Dead rent it, it's a really different kind of horror movie with a fascinating theme.

    I've learned not to look forward to movies. If you anxiously anticipate something, you'll be let down 90% of the time. Besides, Lord of the Rings was so good that Im sure the galaxy will take it's revenge by making the next ten movies I look forward to suck. Of course, it doesn't matter, the curse of the geek is that when they make a movie that appeals to you you'll pay to watch it. Even if you know it sucks and everyone tells you it sucks, you'll still go. So in the mean time, I'll return to putting hexes on George Lucas and reading Macbeth in Klingon and try not to think about it. (that last part wasa joke, I swear.)

    Current Mood: geeky
    Wednesday, January 14th, 2004
    2:11 am
    Drinks all around!
    Well, As of midnight, I am officially 21 yers old. And don't think that just because I'm in the hospital I haven't been having a wild time! I crutched down to the vending machines a few hours ago and got a honey bun and some zingers and a microwave croisant sandwhich! See, you don't need alcahol to have fun, you don't even need friends or the ability to walk!

    Sorry, my humor can get a bit dark late at night. On a brighter note, the award for first birthday call goes to my wonderful girlfriend Anne, wickedboldt with the 12:01am happy birthday.

    I still don't have a date for my surgery but one of my doctors promised today that he'd track down the head of orthapedics tommorrow to nail down a date. That's all for now, picturey posts soon.

    Current Mood: 21!
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