Wednesday, May 30, 2007

This Day

I don’t know what happened but things changed. I wasn’t able to finish studying part of Theology as I started to study another religion. It makes up my small leisure time. And sometimes, I feel bad about it. I guess I’ll be studying both. I’ll try to divide my time between those two subjects.

Mom went to Davao yesterday. There, she’ll be meeting her doctors and I guess she did undergo lab tests last night. Mom is quite down as her bones are sometimes aching. That’s not good… So, please pray for my Mom.

I’ll be closing this month with 4 essays from people who lost their loved ones in the war of Iraq. I read these from the internet yesterday and I pitied them. It saddens me that they’re so young. Most of all, I was touched with these 4 true stories of American soldiers. I know I couldn’t do anything for them now that they’re gone but to offer prayers for their souls’ eternal rest. Please do as well. Thanks.

Ryan Montgomery Campbell
picture of Ryan Campbell
My son, Sgt Ryan Montgomery Campbell, was born November 7, 1978, in Enterprise, Alabama, the son of an Army helicopter pilot. Ryan grew up in California and Missouri, "making do" with few material possessions. He went on to graduate from college and planned to attend graduate school. He was killed in action in Iraq April 29, 2004 after being in country for 13 months. What I loved most about my son was his ability to get along with most anyone and his special affection for children, especially those who go without. He had wanted to make a difference in the lives of the children in Iraq. --Mary Ann MacCombie, Kirksville, MO (submitted on April 30, 2007)

Blain Ebert
picture of Blain Ebert
Blain Ebert was a cocky guy. We were in the same Bradley crew. I was the driver, he was the gunner. He outranked me by position. It angered me when he yelled at me, but he did have more expirience in the "track" and I respected that. We argued alot, but I still did what he said. He encouraged me to ask about the track, and showed me how to work the gun. We deployed to Iraq in 2004. One hot day, we were posted outside of a mosque. We looked for enemy activity but everything looked calm. He shared candy with me saying, "don't take the peanut butter cups, theyre mine." We then talked about family, the army, and life in general to pass time. As he whistled the song "Whos That Lady?" I heard a loud pop! I assumed it was gunfire and told him to get down. I felt relief when i saw him getting down. Then I realized that he was falling down, not getting down. I thought he was hurt, but by the way he fell i knew he was dead. He fell on me with a gunshot to the head. I remember holding him tightly and screameing "Ebert". I yelled at Smitty,(the driver) to turn on the track and get us out of there. I felt his blood trickle down my hands and legs covering the turret floor. For some reason, I didn't want to let him go. I didn't want him to hit the floor. I didn't want to give the enemy the satisfaction of another fallen soldier. This may seem silly, but it made sense at the time. The entire way to the hospital, I remember crying in anger, yelling, and asking why he had to die. I thought of his wife, family, and what we talked about earlier. I told him he couldn't go. I looked for enemies while trying to talk to him. When we got to the hospital, Sgt. O and Sgt. T took him from my arms and I followed the stretcher. I stopped about half way and said to myself "Whats the use? He's already dead.". I sat on a chair at the entrance and began to cry. 5 minutes later, I felt someones arm around me. It was a Major trying to console me. He guided me into the hospital where I cried for a good while. Just when I was starting to calm down, the rest of the platoon came in the room. Spc. Bennedetto saw me and I stood right up. We looked at each other, and began to cry some more. The doctors let us say our last goodbyes to Ebert. We stacked hands and said our platoon motto in his honor: "Dark Knights, 1 team 1 fight!" There wasn't a dry eye in the room. The next day we were back out there, in the same spot, patrolling the same area. We finished our mission in febuary and brought honor to Ebert's name. He didn't die. He GAVE his life for a cause in wich he believed in. He left this earth sharing, singing, and teaching me how to be a better soldier. For that, I thank him. Everyday I thank God for the opportunity to be here. It could of been me that died that day. Why him and not me? I may never know the answer, but I'm grateful. I will think about that day as long as I live. I will honor Ebert every day I spend in the Army. Thanks for the honor of serving with you. God bless. --James Buscampell, Ft. Eustis, VA (submitted on May 12, 2007)

Justin Allan Rollins
picture of Justin Rollins
My son, SPC Justin Allan Rollins was KIA on March 5th, 2007, along with five other soldiers from the 82nd Airborne. They were killed by an IED. He was due home for his break, as he had been in Iraq since August 8th. That was the last time that I got to see my beautiful, loving son. My son gave up his life so that we could have our freedom. I am so proud of him, for being so strong. I mourn the plans he had of marriage, having children and living a full life. He was only 22 years old. My life has changed forever because of losing him. He was so vivacious, always fun to be around, and was such a good friend to all. He never complained the entire time he was in Iraq, except for the fact that he didn't get much time to sleep. He was on mission after mission. We owe all these brave men so much. I never thought that my son would be taken away from me. I love you so much Justin....and I am so proud of you! --Rhonda Rollins, Newport New Hampshire, NV (submitted on April 27, 2007)

Justin Allan Rollins (an animal lover)
Updated: 7:48 p.m. ET May 25, 2007 CONCORD, N.H. - The family of Army Spc. Justin Rollins finally got to hold one of the last things he held. A female puppy the 22-year-old nuzzled the night before his death in a roadside bombing in Iraq frolicked Friday in New Hampshire, completing a nearly 6,000-mile journey that Rollins' family and girlfriend began pushing for after seeing photos of him with a newborn litter. "It was the last bit of happiness Justin had," said Rollins' girlfriend, Brittney Murray. Rollins and some other soldiers from the 82nd Airborne found the puppies outside an Iraqi police station March 4 but weren't allowed to bring them back into their barracks. Rollins was killed the next day in Samarra. After Murray saw the photos, she sought help finding the short-haired dog, named Hero as a reminder of the man who planned to propose to her on his next visit home, she and his mother said. U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes contacted the U.S. Central Command, which ordered the 82nd to retrieve the pup and turn it over to delivery company DHL. Hero arrived Thursday night at Kennedy International Airport in New York, visited a veterinarian and arrived in New Hampshire overnight. The floppy-eared pooch — mostly white, with brown spots along the right side of its muzzle and paws still too big for its 15-pound body — was a hit Friday as she sniffed around Hodes' office, pausing to piddle on the carpet. Whether the mixed-breed puppy is the one in the photo didn't matter. Several people claimed credit for the dog's name, but everyone agreed it was a fitting tribute to Rollins, whose parents said he was always an animal lover. "We have a dog and three cats at home. When he was little, they all were on his bed," said his mother, Rhonda. Rollins was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with a baseball signed by Red Sox player David Ortiz, who met him last summer shortly before Rollins' unit was deployed. "He really did believe in what he was fighting for," Rhonda Rollins said of her paratrooper son. "I think he'd be thrilled there was a positive story from the negative thing that happened to us. ... He was such a happy-go-lucky guy." Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Nicholas J. Manoukian
picture of Nicholas Manoukian
In Honor and loving memory of my son Cpl Nicholas J.Manoukian,my "Fallen Warrior".As troops pass by in a parade he is just a tree in a forest of men.When he travels from his homeland to the heat of battle,he is just someone who fills a seat on the air transport.To the enemy he is just another faceless target to be eliminated. But this Warrior is more than just a number.He is the beautiful baby,an only child that filled his mother's heart with so much love that she easily devoted her life to him.He is the young boy who suffered the loss of his loving father at the tender age of 12 causing pain more intense that any wound in battle.He is the teenager who could get into mischievous trouble,charm the girls,and keep his friends laughing.He is the organizer of fun,the Artist that makes sketch paper and canvas come alive.He is the accomplished drummer,creator of rhythms that could make his drums resonate with brilliance.He is the romantic that writes poetry to the girl that is special to his heart..the girl that would compel him to ride a bicycle on just a wheel rim without a tire to complete the journey to her home.He is the romantic that proposes to her by celebrating all of the Holidays that they will miss together while he is deployed to Iraq for a second time,ending with sending her on an Easter egg hunt to find her ring in July.He is the Step Daddy to a 2 yr old little boy who as he grew would depend on him for guidance into manhood.He is the young man who commands respect and love from a stepfather who is proud to call him his son.He is a MARINE who is loyal to his brother warriors who love him for his wonderful sense of humor and always reaching out to others to help them in any possible way.He is the man tough enough in body and spirit to face the enemy for the freedom of his nation and still be able to tenderly say "I love you Mom".He is the cherished son, the joy and love of his Mom's entire world. Now this vibrant and talented young warrior has been taken from us by a heartless enely.Now we no longer hear his laughing voice or the rhythmic beat of his drum solos or the romantic whispers in the ear of his wife he so deeply loved.No longer can we see his strong stature,feel his rib smashing hugs, see his soft dark eyes and his beautiful smile that could light up a room. Nick gave life a gleam that most people only carry a glimpse of. Cpl Nicholas J.Manoukian known as "Manny" to his Marine brothers was born on August 31,1984 in Westland Michigan and killed in action in Ramadi Iraq Oct 21,2006 while out on patrol when an Improvise Explosive device detonated near his Humvee. Two of Nick's Marine brothers were also killed that October night and two were wounded. My beloved son Nick was promoted to Corporal and awarded the Purple Heart with Gold star and Navy Achievment Medal with combat "V" posthumously. Nick is gone from our world but he now lives with an eternal spirit in the presence of God.You are only a breath away.I love you son, Mom --Mary Manoukian Calhoun, Lathrup Village, MI (submitted on May 7, 2007)

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