Monday, May 07, 2007

Remembering Our Brothers

Before leaving Camp Ramadi, we held memorial ceremonies for two Soldiers we lost while they were conducting combat operations in the city. SPC Waterbury and SGT Lewis. The pictures I include here are posted with Soldiers' permission. Part of me thinks this subject matter is too painful and private to be shared in such a forum. And yet I regularly counsel grieving Soldiers and encourage them to remember fallen Soldiers and loved ones who pass on. For units who frequently experience casualties, it can be easy to become numb to the tragedy of death and injury. Repressing such pain can be selfish, and yet remembering the dead entails the risk of living in the past. Bringing with us into the future our memories of loved ones past is the challenge. Our commitment to "never forget" must not be in vain.

The cover story for this week's Newsweek article addresses maintaining faith in combat and largely focuses on the challenge faced by chaplains: I recommend the article. Although the experiences of the principal chaplain in the article are very similar to my own, and I do experience "provider fatigue", I haven't experienced the same spiritual despair (yet, I recognize it is a possibility). Some of our Soldiers' faith has been eroded by the perpetual tragedy of this war, and I do what I am able to help. I experience a sustaining love during the most difficult times that I can only understand as God's grace in response to the prayers of loved ones and the faithful lovers of freedom the world over.

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