As you read this article for the first time – or read it again a year later – please say a prayer for Dennis’ family members and friends who continue to grieve his loss and attempt to live in a way that will honor his memory.
It is sobering to contemplate that there are over two thousand families of U.S. soldiers and Marines who are grieving the death of a loved one in Iraq. It is estimated that over 40,000 Iraqi civilians have died in the violence that continues to grip that war-torn country. It is easy and tempting to become numb to the escalating statistics of casualties.
One antidote to that creeping numbness is to make a commitment to reach out to one individual or family or organization and offer a concrete gesture of support. In my experience, once the first few weeks and months have passed after a death, most of the world returns to “business as usual” – leaving the family to continue their grieving in relative isolation. If you know of a family that has suffered a loss, consider sending a card or making a phone call or bringing a bouquet or make a contribution in his/her honor. The message can be as simple as: “I know it has been a year since you buried Dennis. I am sure it is still hard. I want you to know that I think about him every day. He will never be forgotten. And I pray for you each day, as well. Is there anything I can do to be of support right now?”
Regardless of how we may feel about the politics behind the war, those who have obeyed orders and have answered the call of duty deserve our support - as do their families. We are all in this together!