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Rest In Peace

July 9, 2008
Photo by Warren Zinn

Photo by Warren Zinn

I remember when this photo was published in The Fayetteville Observer.  I can’t tell you the day or the month, but I can vividly recall the feelings I had. 

The Husband and I were married for five weeks before he came to my office and said he was leaving.  He was gone within 48 hours and I was lost without him.  I had just packed up my entire life 5 weeks earlier and moved to North Carolina to start a new life with a man I wasn’t certain I’d ever see again.  The following months were difficult to say the least.  I didn’t know anyone in North Carolina except for The Husband’s former room-mate who didn’t deploy with the rest of the Squadron because he had orders to Korea.  A month passed before I got my first phone call from The Husband and by then I had forgotten the sound of his voice.  Sure, I received the occasional email from him, but the base in Kuwait was so packed with mobilized units that there weren’t enough phones and computers to go around. 

Shortly after everything really started to heat up in the middle east, I opened the morning paper and saw the picture of PFC Joseph Dwyer running with a small Iraqi boy trying to save him.  In the midst of the chaos that was my life, I felt peace and calm.  I knew that there were men and women in our military out there striving to make this a better world for all of us.  And I was damn proud.

What’s become of PFC Dwyer is absolutely tragic.  News articles are reporting that Mrs. Dwyer confirmed that PFC Dwyer sought help for his PTSD.  The most tragic statement of all, “He never regretted going over there, doing what he did,” Matina Dwyer said.  “He couldn’t actually come home.  He was still there in his mind.”  Isn’t that up there with our worst fear? 

A Friend of ours (I guess former-friend now) came back from the sandbox with PTSD after being attached to another unit.  He behavior was very sporadic.  It started with lies.  He lied to all of us, but mostly his wife and girlfriend(!).  Within a year The Friends had divorced, the girlfriend was gone, the house sold, the dogs adopted out and The Former-Friend was on his own.  We all tried to help, we all tried to get him help.  He refused and pushed us all out of his life.  Before The Husband and I moved, I ran in to The Former-Friend a couple of times.  I reached out and tried to engage in conversation, he looked at me like I was the devil.  He wanted to go back to the sandbox, but he didn’t.  He was stuck in his own personal hell. 

Thanks for your service to our great Nation PFC Dwyer.  I know you felt like you didn’t do anything special, but you did.  You stepped up when your country was in need.  Rest In Peace, PFC Dwyer.  Rest In Peace.  I pray you’ve found it.

To read more about PFC Dwyer, click here.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2008 09:35

    Reading this brought me to tears. The men and women of the armed forces sacrifice so much for us… not only when they are away amidst the fight, but when they get home and are fighting their own personal battle.

    Then, their are the spouses and family left behind, who sacrifice so freely as well. Thank you for supporting your husband as he fought for our freedom. Thank him, and everyone else in the same shoes!

  2. 1freshstart permalink
    July 11, 2008 13:45

    Thank you for your kind words. I can’t speak for the military as a whole or their families but I do know that my husband, myself and our friends consider it an honor to serve this country. At the risk of sounding redundant, thanks for your gratitude. It’s few and far between these days- but then again, that’s not why we do what we do.

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