My Dear Fallen Heroes:
So many years have passed and it seems just like yesterday you never came back home on this day in September. First, I want to say that I miss you; we long for your presence and we mourn for you always. I thought by now we would have brought the people responsible for your death to justice, but I’m so sorry to have to tell you, I don’t think that has happened… I don’t know what justice looks like anymore.
Following the 11th, I have struggled to make my life full of purpose, and determined to never live in regret. I did my best to save people anyone I could get my hands on. I went to army recruitment centers to talk young men out of joining, telling them that war would be upon us, and they may never come back home if they sign up. I remember trying to explain to a young man that war is neither benefiting to him nor us. Now, ten years after the fact, I think those men now understand my reasons for my concern.
According to USA Today in January 2011, soldiers, both active duty and on inactive status, died by suicide at the rate of 25 per month in 2010, Army figures show. In November (2009) that suicides had doubled among National Guard soldiers who were on inactive duty in a year when the Army was seeing a slight decline among active-duty soldier suicides. The Army released final year-end statistics Wednesday. There were 301 confirmed or suspected soldier suicides in 2010, including those on active duty and reservists or National Guard troops on an inactive status, the Army reported Wednesday. This compares with 242 in 2009.
The Marine Corps reported a decline in suicides from 52 in 2009 to 37 confirmed or suspected cases in 2010. Among active-duty Army soldiers, there were 156 potential suicides in 2010, down slightly from 162 in 2009.
After escaping the towers and living that horrific day of war, the trauma left me in a state of haunting memories. It kept me wondering how I could honor your lives with my life? Did I do enough today to make my life count? It has been so hard for me to be at peace. This vicious cycle continued day in day out for years, and I would work myself into complete exhaustion.
Now that it’s been ten years, I am back at square one, asking myself, what have I done these last ten years of life that I’ve been spared to live? I want to tell you each and every lesson I learned, and tell you all about my wish to build purposeful ventures in business for our community; that I’m now a wife and a mother of two daughters, and I am loved every day. I’ve tried to be a model for those around me, but I still feel the pain of you not being with us and it still makes me feel inept. I am not a soldier, but if September 11th has left me with all these emotions, trauma and stigma, I can only imagine what our soldiers think of these past 10 years.
We cannot deny the emotional, physical and spiritual harm war does to us personally and collectively around the world. Our anger for what happened ten years and our grief, will never go away. But we can choose how to respond to this anger and choose how we act. With our social and financial problems at this time, it worries me that no leader is trying to dramatically end these wars. So many years of war, our soldiers need to be home with their families. We cannot afford these wars. We’re broke, and instead of considering ending these wars we consider cutting Veteran services, for them and their families. How can any leader dare to speak these words!
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Iraqi war can cost anywhere from 9 Billion to 13 Billion a month. That’s 156,000,000,000 Billion dollars a year, only for Iraq. We’ve been at war for 10 years now. The new jobs bill presented a day or two ago, is only 105 Billion, so basically less than one year of the Iraqi war, we could improve the incentives for job hiring in America.
It is Patriotic to save American Lives and our American Financial Lives too. This war, has brought us all to our knees, we have no jobs, we’re homeless, we have higher gas prices, we’re billions in debt, and we allow our soldiers to kill and be killed for empty campaign slogans.
It is time for us to heal, and to stop living in denial.
We were deceived to believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and Osama Bin Laden is dead. We cannot bring back our loved ones from September 11th and we can never bring back our fallen soldiers. Our lack of action for peace is making the suicide rate among soldiers rise. They rather not live this life, than continue killing and dying year in year out. “Among National Guard soldiers on inactive status in 2010, there were 101 confirmed or suspected suicides, more than double the 48 deaths among Guard members on inactive duty in 2009.” USA Today
In addition to soldier suicide rate rising, so is our debt for paying for these wars. Most of the contracts are not open bids, so there is no competition. There aren’t any methods set in place to verify that we (Our Country) got the services we paid for. There isn’t competitive bids, so people who have a relationship in place, like Halliburton who became KBR or Black Water who have become Xe, International Development Solutions or U.S. Training Center, still get the checks. The pentagon only has a 2% goal for enhancing competitive bids and they have no system in place to know the difference between these subsidiaries. It is betrayal to our soldiers and to all Americans to pay a private army more than our own soldiers, and with our tax dollars, adding more to our debt.
“According to data provided to the House panel, the average per-day pay to personnel Blackwater hired was $600. According to the schedule of rates, supplies and services attached to the contract, Blackwater charged Regency $1,075 a day for senior managers, $945 a day for middle managers and $815 a day for operators. An unmarried sergeant given Iraq pay and relief from U.S. taxes makes about $83 to $85 a day, given time in service. A married sergeant with children makes about double that, $170 a day. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Baghdad overseeing more than 160,000 U.S. troops, makes roughly $180,000 a year, or about $493 a day. That comes out to less than half the fee charged by Blackwater for its senior manager of a 34-man security team.” by James Joyner, Outside the Beltway.com
After the 11th, I yearned for us to observe our anger, to stop our own suicidal tendencies and to stop our ill-intended economic policies, so we could look at ourselves and reflect. We may have caught our breath, but as a whole we continued with the same lifestyle and it has pushed us deeper into dysfunction, and economic collapse.
The emotional trauma that September 11th and these wars have caused will have a lasting impact, but we can choose to stop the bleeding and put pressure on our leaders to end them. These wars keep us unable to act for the future and each year September 11th re-opens our wounds. We are smarter than to let the pain of September 11th, re-ignite our anger and continue re-energizing these endless wars.
Although on this day what I feel is overwhelming grief, compassion, and gratefulness for life. I pray for forgiveness to our fallen heroes. Now that it is 10 years, I am writing today to ask you all, to please ACT and save lives. Please take all that you feel about this day, and tomorrow call your congress person (both Representative and Senator). Make it clear that we need to end these wars and have our soldiers back home. Let’s save the lives of our soldiers, something that is in our power to do now.
With all my love and heavy heart