Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Please Bring Their Families Comfort

Please continue reading below. Updates are continually posted in regards to Ramp Ceremony, Repatriation, and Condolences. Regards, m.m.

This is a sad day. A day when mothers and fathers and wives and husbands are wringing their hands waiting as news is delivered. It's a day when families await hoping that a car doesn't pull up to their home delivering devastating news that will turn their lives upside down. And given the time of year especially, today Canada has lost 5 of their family members. 4 soldiers and a journalist. My prayers are with all soldiers, their families, comrades and friends.
Five Canadians Died
Four Canadian soldiers and a Canadian journalist died in Afghanistan on Wednesday in the blast of an improvised explosive device.
Calgary Herald reporter Michelle Lang, 34, was on secondment to Canwest News Service and was travelling with a provincial reconstruction team in Kandahar City when the attack on their armoured vehicle occurred. She is the first Canadian journalist to die in Afghanistan since the Canadian military mission began there.
"On behalf of all the soldiers, airmen, sailors and special operators of Joint Task Force Afghanistan, I offer our sincere condolences to the families and friends of our fallen," said Brigadier-General Daniel Menard, Commander of Task Force Kandahar.
Four Canadian soldiers and one Canadian reporter embedded with Joint Task Force Afghanistan (JTF-Afg) were killed, while four other Canadian soldiers and one Canadian civilian official were injured in an IED incident in Kandahar province, on Wednesday December 30, 2009.
The incident occurred 4 km south of Kandahar City at approximately 4:00 p.m., Kandahar time, Wednesday afternoon as a result of an improvised explosive device attack on an armoured vehicle during a patrol.

You Shall Always Be Remembered

Killed in action was Sergeant George Miok a member of 41 Combat Engineer Regiment, based in Edmonton, Alberta and serving with the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team.

Killed in action was Sergeant Kirk Taylor a member of 84 Independent Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery, based in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and serving with the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team.

Killed in action was Corporal Zachery McCormack a member of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, 4th Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, based in Edmonton, Alberta and serving with the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team.

Killed in action was Private Garrett William Chidley a member of the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, based in Shilo, Manitoba and serving with the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team.

The names of the soldiers were not released till this time, as notification of next-of-kin was ongoing.
All of the injured personnel were evacuated to the Role 3 Multi-National Medical Facility at Kandahar Airfield. They are undergoing medical examination and treatment, and their names will not be released.

Michelle Lang - Canada's Reporter

Shown here, Calgary Herald reporter Michelle Lang, 34, collects a season's greeting from a Canadian soldier at Kandahar Airfield in this Dec. 12, 2009, photo. Lang was killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan Dec. 30, 2009, while covering the war for the Canwest News Service. Photo credit: Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

It was Lang's first assignment in Afghanistan. She arrived in the country on Dec. 11 and was due to return to Calgary on Jan. 22. News of her death left a pall of shock and grief over the Herald newsroom.
"Michelle was an incredible person, and outstanding journalist," said Lorne Motley, Herald editor-in-chief. "She was kind-hearted, warm and always willing to give her all.

"When it came to journalism, Michelle was at the top of her craft . . . Her loss leaves a great hole in our family of journalists, whether they work at the Herald, Canwest or elsewhere.

"This is a devastating day, and our thoughts are with her family, her fiance and friends. We all knew, and loved, her."

Friend and Herald colleague Gwendolyn Richards said work was important to Lang, but nothing meant more to her than family and friends.
Richards recalled how, in the days before leaving for Afghanistan and busy planning for the trip, Lang threw together an impromptu birthday dinner for Richards to mark the day.
"She was very sweet and thoughtful," she said. "She made sloppy joes . . . and she felt bad that they weren't better. She wanted it to be a great birthday."

Lang was recently engaged and planned to marry this summer.

Provincial reconstruction team — or PRTs — are groups of civilians, government specialists and others who venture into the countryside with military escorts as they attempt to rebuild roads, dams, schools, hospitals and other elements of Afghanistan's battered physical, social, medical and political infrastructure.

"We are all devastated by the loss of Michelle and our thoughts right now are with her family and her fiance," said Scott Anderson, editor-in-chief of Canwest News Service. "Journalists need to — and do — put themselves at risk every day to report first-hand on important stories like Afghanistan. But that doesn't make this any easier."

Taliban Claims Responsibility Taliban Claims Attack That Killed 5 Canadians In Afghanistan The Wall Street Journal
The Taliban on Thursday claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in southern Afghanistan that killed five Canadians--four soldiers and a woman journalist.
"This work is done by us," Yusuf Ahmadi, a purported Taliban spokesman, said from an undisclosed location when asked about the incident. In my opinion, he should not hide like a chicken and let the CF deal with him! I know other Mothers who would like to deal with him also. So sickening. ~m.m.
The five Canadians were killed Tuesday when a roadside bomb exploded beneath their armored vehicle in the southeastern militant stronghold of Kandahar province.


If you would like to leave condolences, please enter them in the comment section and I shall transfer them below.
Alternately, if you would like to leave condolences for Michelle, they can be placed below or by clicking on this LINK

We have once again been hit with devastating news and cannot imagine a worse ending to the year. Four of our Canadian soldiers and Michelle Lang, a journalist with the Calgary Herald, were killed when their armoured vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Four more soldiers and an official member of Canada's civilian personnel were also injured in this attack.

This new tragedy, like all those before it, is shocking. It reminds us of the underhanded, blind, daily violence facing our Canadian soldiers, journalists and humanitarian workers in Afghanistan, who are working alongside the local population already hard hit by decades of terror.

Our thoughts are with the families, the loved ones and the colleagues of the deceased. We also wish the injured a prompt recovery. Michaëlle Jean Governor General of Canada
My sincere condolences to those who have lost their loved ones today. ~Anonymous
President Karzai shares the grief and extends prayers and deepest condolences to families and friends of the victims and to the people of the United States and Canada and emphasizes that, “Your sons and daughters have lost their lives for protecting the Afghan people and the humanity against the threat of terrorism. Afghans will never forget your sacrifices.” The President also offers heartfelt condolences to the families and to the Canadian media community on the death of Michelle Lang, the Canadian journalist, who was among those killed in Kandahar.
"Your children sacrificed their lives for the people of Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism. The Afghans will not forget your sacrifice." ~ Hamid Karzai

May God comfort those with a broken heart. ~ Airman Mom


There are no words to express my sadness. They will not be forgotten. ~ Anonymous

Ramp Ceremony -Saying Goodbye in Afghanistan

Comrades stand before pictures of fallen soldiers.

A Canadian soldier says goodbye to a fallen comrade on New Year's Day before he and three comrades as well as journalist Michelle Lang of the Calgary Herald begin their 10,000 kilometre journey back to Canada. Photo Credit: Sgt. Gemma Bibby of the Royal Air Force, DND

Repatriation - They are Coming Home - 10,000 miles

Wear red, bring a flag, bring a wave - let's let the families know we support them as they travel this difficult path with their loved ones along the Highway of Heroes (Hwy 401 westbound from Trenton to Toronto) Please go to the overpasses. Please be safe. As well, prepare for fluctuations in times and dress warmly.

The repatriation of our soldiers is scheduled for Sunday, January 3rd, 2010.
The plane carrying our fallen soldiers and reporter is expected to land at Canadian Forces Base Trenton at 2 p.m. with the ceremony completion at approximately 2:45 p.m. It's expected to reach Cobourg around 3:15 p.m. and Whitby around 3:45 p.m. These times quite possibly may vary.

Update: Times are APPROXIMATE

After each flag-draped casket is carried off the plane and into a waiting hearse, the convoy will travel west along Hwy. 401 towards Toronto likely between 3:15 and 3:30 p.m.

The procession of five hearses followed by cars carrying the grieving families should come south down the Don Valley Parkway around 4:30 p.m. -- depending on traffic and weather -- before exiting onto Bloor St. and into the downtown. (the procession passed the Victoria Park Avenue Overpass at approximate 5:45 p.m.)

Toronto Police said the repatriation will move from Bloor St. across to Sherbourne St., go south to Wellesley St., west to Bay St. and then south to Grovesnor St. before turning into the coroner's office just before Yonge St.

It's estimated the convoy will make the last turn, at the Corner of the Courageous, outside the coroner's office at Yonge and Grenville Sts. around 5:15 p.m
A recommendation is that people dress for the weather as there may be delays in time frame.

On the Overpass - Heroes and Families in Our Hearts

It is five hours later and I am still shivering while I write this.

The wind blew with a bitterness while waiting with many others, soldiers, families of soldiers, friends, people - many people who drove distances on the icy roads to be here on the overpass on the Victoria Park Avenue overpass in Toronto on Sunday evening. The coldness quickly stung my fingers as I shiveringly held my camera. This was nothing compared to the pain the families must be enduring today. I had arrived at 4:30 p.m. with others holding Canadian and Support Our Troops flags of all sizes. They fluttered effortlessly in the wind. Ambulances and police cars parked at the side of the road with their blue and red lights flashing, announcing our presence on the overpass. Cars and trucks honked their many horns and flashed their headlights in support of our soldiers and in compassion for the families - letting us know that they were sharing the pain. With road conditions, traffic was slow and conjested. Not a minute would pass without the empathetic honking and the flash from passengers taking pictures from below.

Looking ahead, I saw the traffic in the middle lanes stop. No one. The highway was empty. Then coming around the bend were many flashing random blue and red lights - the police escort. "Here they come", a gentleman from Cambridge whispered beside me. It was quiet, very quiet except the siren. Following behind where the hearses - 5 long hearses glaring in the evening light. Canadian flags covering their caskets could be seen through their windows. They are home. I tried to take pictures, but my new camera lens wasn't cooperating - no, it wasn't my lens, it was the tears - the tears blurred my vision. They came easily, stinging my cheeks as they fell. Closely, behind the hearses where the families with Canadian and Support Flags flying out the passengers' windows. My heart hurt - I hope they see our support, our empathy, our love. The silence was broken with clapping, people on the overpass were clapping slowly and loudly with their gloves and mitts on as the soldiers and families came near. Then there was a flurry of many more police cruisers following behind as they made their final drive on the 401 - our Highway of Heroes. The clapping then stopped and people slowly turned and started walking away, heads hung low, some holding each other, some weeping, everyone quiet, but we all travelled the same path - the pathway of sympathy. Bless our soldiers, our reporter, their families, comrades, co-workers and friends here and in Afghanistan. Always in our memories and in our hearts. ~m.m.

(To the soldiers that shared a coffee with the Family support board members, the mom (me) and friend, I'd like to thank you. Please drop me a note at my email address )

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New York Honours Fallen Soldiers

Paterson Orders Flags to Half-Staff to Honour Fallen Soldiers
Gov. David Paterson has ordered flags on state buildings across New York flown at half-staff to honour soldiers from New York who are killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the governor says the new policy began Wednesday when the flag was lowered for three Fort Drum soldiers killed in Iraq on June 4 near Sharqat. On Monday, flags will be lowered again for Staff Sgt. Tyler Pickett, who was killed in action in Kirkuk Province in Iraq on June 8.

Although the four dead soldiers were from other states, they were all assigned to the 10th Mountain Division and stationed at Fort Drum in northern New York. Spokesman Morgan Hook says Paterson believes even if a soldier is from another state, if they are serving with a New York-based unit, that makes them a New Yorker.

Gov. David Paterson has directed that flags on New York state government buildings be flown at half-staff Wednesday in honour of SPC. Jason M. Johnston, who became Albion’s first casualty of war Saturday.

Johnston, 24, was killed while serving in Arghandab, Afghanistan. A Department of Defense official confirmed Johnston’s death, stating that he died of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

“All New Yorkers mourn the death of this brave young soldier,” Paterson said. “We join with the family, friends and fellow soldiers of Specialist Johnston in grieving his death. But we also join with them in honoring his patriotism and dedication to his mission and to our nation.”

Johnston was assigned to the second Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, fourth Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Greetings from Our Soldiers

With assistance of the Department of Defence, our troops currently deployed in Afghanistan and the Arabian Gulf have sent Holiday Season Greetings for families and friends. I have posted them below for you to see (and I will continue posting as I get the videos).
All I ask is, if you know families of the soldiers below, could you please share this with them.Thank you. ~ m.m

Bless Lt. Andrew Richard Nuttall - December 24th, 2009

My heart was torn when I heard of the news of our fallen soldier. I cannot imagine what his family is going through and especially during our holiday season. We need to stand beside to support them and show them we will always remember. My sympathies go out to his family, here and overseas, and all his friends and comrades. God bless.

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN — A period of relative post-fighting season calm was shattered Wednesday when a Canadian soldier on foot patrol in the volatile Panjwaii district of southern Afghanistan was killed.
Lt. Andrew Richard Nuttall, along with an Afghan soldier, died when an improved explosive device detonated in the town of Nakhoney, the military said early Thursday. An interpreter was seriously injured.
Nuttall, 30, of Prince Rupert, B.C., belonged to the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based in Edmonton.
“Andrew came to Afghanistan because he honestly thought he could make a difference to the people of Afghanistan,” said Brig.-Gen. Daniel Menard, commander of coalition forces in Kandahar province.
“He wanted to lead from the front and set the example, attributes he passionately displayed every time he was in front of his platoon.”
Menard described Nuttall as generous, someone who always had a smile on his face and “greeted everyone he met with enthusiasm and goodwill.”
The death was the first in almost two months, when Sapper Steven Marshall was killed, and the first since Menard took over as top commander in Kandahar province.
Marshall died Oct. 30 in a similar incident, in what has been a record year for IED attacks in Afghanistan.
Since April 2007, 66 of the 89 Canadian deaths in Afghanistan have been the result of improvised explosive devices
With the relative quiet of the post-summer ebb in violence, Canadian soldiers, reinforced by hundreds of fresh American troops, have been attempting to establish secure areas in and around Kandahar city.
The aim, according to Menard, is to establish a “ring of stability” around the bustling city before the uptick in fighting traditionally begins in the spring, the phenomenon known as “fighting season.”
Nakhoney, about 25 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City, one part of what was dubbed the Panjwaii triangle, has been an area in which Canadian forces have frequently encountered problems.
In July, for example, Canadian and Afghan soldiers uncovered four factories used by the Taliban to make improvised explosive devices. They also seized suicide-bomber vests, large quantities of explosive materials as well as weapons.
One soldier, Pte. Sebastien Courcy was killed during the operation when he stepped on an explosive.
Menard recently cited Nakhoney as an example where the reinforced Canadian forces were having an impact in providing security for local Afghans.
At the time of his death, Nuttall was searching for Taliban transit routes, Menard said.
“His patrol was part of our efforts to protect the people of the village from insurgents.”
Nuttall is survived by his mother Jane and father Richard.
Under Menard's new strategy, soldiers are moving out of their relatively safe operating bases to move into platoon houses in the community.

Video Credit: ErikH06

Slain Victoria Soldier Remembered for Passion, Leadership as Journey Home Begins

Written by Michelle Lang , (Canada's fallen Reporter in Afghanistan)

Calgary Herald: Thursday, December 24, 2009

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD , Afghanistan — Lt. Andrew Richard Nuttall, the 134th Canadian soldier to fall in Afghanistan, began his journey home to Canada following a sombre Christmas Eve ramp ceremony.
Thousands of NATO soldiers gathered Thursday at this airfield in southern Afghanistan to honour the 30-year-old army officer who died Wednesday when a homemade bomb detonated as he led a foot patrol in the dangerous Panjwaii district southwest of Kandahar City.
Before Nuttall's flag-draped casket was loaded onto a plane, Lt.-Col. Jerry Walsh remembered him as a popular and well-respected young leader who was operating in one of the most difficult areas of Afghanistan.
"Andrew had an infectious personality and always had a smile on his face, attributes which the soldiers under his command appreciated when times were tough," said Walsh, Nuttall's commanding officer.
Nuttall, who was originally from Prince Rupert, B.C., and grew up on the west coast of Vancouver Island, was serving with the Edmonton-based 1st Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.
He was killed Wednesday afternoon while Canadian soldiers were on routine foot patrol near the village of Nakhonay, looking for insurgent "transit routes." The village was a Taliban supply point until November, when Canadian Forces mounted an operation to secure and hold the area.
Nuttall's platoon was living near the village — part of a new Canadian counter-insurgency strategy to develop closer relationships with the Afghan population.
In recent weeks, Walsh said many locals have told Canadian soldiers where insurgents were planting bombs in the area.
"We've had countless locals come and show us where improvised explosive devices were located," he said. "We are having great success in that regard, so this has come as a bit of a surprise to us."
Brig.-Gen. Daniel Menard, Canada's top soldier in Afghanistan, said Thursday the patrol was "part of our efforts to protect the people of the village from insurgents."
"Andrew came to Afghanistan because he honestly believed that he could make a difference to the people of Afghanistan, and he demonstrated that every time he went on patrol," said Menard.
An Afghan soldier, who has not been identified, also died in the blast. An interpreter was injured in the incident.
Nuttall's death marks the end of a month-and-a-half-long period of relative calm for Canadian troops in Afghanistan.
A Canadian Forces soldier hasn't died since October 30 when Sapper Steven Marshall, an Edmonton-based combat engineer, was killed by a landmine in the Panjwaii district.
On Thursday, Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean said in a statement Nuttall's death comes at a difficult time of year, as Canadians celebrate the holiday season.
"It is a harsh reminder of the enormous sacrifices our soldiers and their loved ones have agreed to make so that stability and security can be re-established in a dangerous region of the world," she said.
B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell also issued a statement, offering his condolences to the soldier's family. "We are thankful for the courage, bravery and dedication he demonstrated in service to his country and to his fellow Canadians," Campbell said.
"During this season of family and togetherness, the loss of this brave soldier is a reminder of the sacrifices made by the dedicated men and women who work to safeguard our freedoms."
Nuttall is the son of a prominent Victoria doctor and nurse, Richard and Ethel Jane Nuttall, who have helped establish medical clinics in developing countries.
Those who knew him described Nuttall as a "superb athlete" who enjoyed cold-water surfing, teaching and working as a disc jockey.
"Andrew shared a passion for many things," said Padre Steve Defer, speaking at the ramp ceremony.
"He loved the outdoors and he loved to surf. The waves at Tofino on Vancouver Island will never be the same."
If you would like to leave a message of condolence, enter it in the comment section and I shall transfer it below.

eulogy describing the ramp ceremony of Lt. Andrew Richard Nuttall

"I would like to express my profound condolences to the families and friends of Lieutenant Andrew Richard Nuttall, who died as the result of an improvised explosive device detonating near his patrol. Our thoughts are with the family of the Afghan National Army soldier who was killed and the ISAF interpreter who was injured during the same tragic incident. Lieutenant Andrew Richard Nuttall was an extraordinary Canadian who will always deserve recognition and respect of his ultimate sacrifice for this nation." ~Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence

Once again, the entire country is in mourning. Lieutenant Andrew Richard Nuttall from the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, based in Edmonton, Alberta, was killed when an anti-personnel mine exploded. A soldier from the Afghan National Army also died and an Afghan interpreter was injured. My husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, and I are deeply saddened. This death comes at the end of a particularly difficult year and as we begin the holiday season, an important time for families.
It is a harsh reminder of the enormous sacrifices our soldiers and their loved ones have agreed to make so that stability and security can be re-established in a dangerous region of the world and to help people who have been deprived of their most fundamental rights, distressed by years of violence and oppression.
It is a harsh reminder that, day and night, despite successive attacks and the loss of their comrades, our soldiers continue to take enormous risks, and to work in and patrol mined areas of Afghanistan in the name of justice and freedom.
We will never forget Lieutenant Nuttall, his courage, his generous spirit, his sense of duty and dedication, or the ultimate sacrifice he made. At this extremely difficult time, our thoughts are with his family, his loved ones and his comrades. Our thoughts are also with all Canadian military personnel deployed abroad, far away from their families. ~Michaelle Jean


It breaks my heart but I am so incredibly thankful that there are young men and women willing to put their lives on the line to serve our country like this. I am not involved in the military myself - have no family or friends in the Forces - but feel a swelling of pride and grief and gratitude every time I read about one of our soldiers being lost in Afghanistan. Love and hugs to this brave man's family during what will no doubt be an excruciating Christmas season.~S


What heart-breaking news today, and in this season a jarring reminder of sacrifice, hope and the ultimate gift a human being can bestow on the rest of us. My deepest condolences to Lt. Nutall's family, friends and military colleagues. I will take what comfort I can in the knowledge that his work on this earth is done, his contribution exceeds that which most of us can even contemplate, he has gone to a better place and we are all forever in his debt. Let's carry this brave man and all his fallen colleagues in our hearts forever. Love and respect always. ~Jordana Mars


As a mother of a soldier currently in Afghanistan I am heartbroken to hear of his death. He was truly a hero and our thoughts and prayers got out to his family and friends. I can't imagine what they are going through, especially at this time of the year. Never to be forgotten... Anonymous
It is simply heartbreaking for all of us who pray daily for our young men and women serving.... Canada's loses a beloved son at the time we are celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.... I was looking at his photo collection and reading his blogs and it's like he's our son as well. What a beautiful young soul and he will be terribly missed. My heart and prayers go out to his family, friends and community. Andrew has the sweetest smile.... and his whole face lights up... it truly hurts deeply to lose a Canadian son. Peace of Christ ~ Old momma Nova.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Our Torchbearers

December 03, 2009 Valcartier, Québec

The team of torchbearers at the beginning of the relay. Valcartier Garrison is one of the 10 Canadian Forces bases to have the honour of being selected to welcome the Olympic torch. The team of 20 Olympic torchbearers from Valcartier Garrison reprsents National Defence's multidisciplinary character well. The team, which is composed of Canadian Forces members and civilians from a variety of units and occupations, will carry the Olympic flame for one kilometre.

Corporal (Cpl) S. Huppé of 35th Brigade Group Headquarters passes the olympic torch and gives a high five to Cpl D. Beaulieu of 35th Brigade Group Headquarters.

You Ought to Be in Pictures...hmm

My son has become my students' hero. Unbeknownst to him, he is grandly admired and spoken of highly everyday. A picture of him holding a welcome home card created with grand compassion by these students stands beside the copy of the Canadian Anthem and flag.

Well today, a student of mine with a big smile, came to me carrying a pencil and a small piece of paper in hand. He smiled and said, "I saw you on a video on the web!" You and *(your son)! You were hugging him and crying!" As I have not published any pictures of my son, I replied that it might have been someone else, perhaps someone looking like us. He insisted that it was us. Quickly, he took his pencil and wrote a phrase to look up on the computer. Tonight, I promptly checked it out and low and behold... it was us. Me clutching my son with tears streaming down my face as he was turning to leave on his first deployment. It quickly brought back that painful day, as I tried so hard to put on a brave face, a forced smile through tears which could not hide.

To my son: I love you and am very proud of you. ox

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Return and Lost

To all my readers...

Thank you so much for all the emails and comments. Yes, I still need to moderate the comments. Only 1% have been negative (these I still publish) however, there has been highly unappropriate comments made in regards to escorts, etc. on our fallen soldier entries. These I need to deal with.

Yes, my son has returned home! What an ecstatic night that was! As well, I know there was a loss experienced, as he returned without some of his friends-his family on his return flight.

For myself, I don't know what has been happening causing my blogging absence. How do families cope when deployment is over? I know there is obvious elation, and then there's this strange feeling I've never experienced before - a feeling of being lost? (Perhaps that's the wrong word.)However, during deployment, my committment had been to care packages, letters, and worry, worry, worry. Now, it's quiet. The shoulders are down, but the compassion remains for fellow families always. And as the tan coloured dust covered boots sitting near the door, there are the days of wonder ... I always wonder about "all the horrors of of war and loss of humanity" my son has seen and experienced. As a mother, I wish I could take some of that pain away.