News and opinions on situation in Iraq
19/07/04 Interview with Celeste Zappala, Mother of Army Sgt. Sherwood R. Baker By Jay Shaft
“The pain of my son’s death does not get any better, it just gets worse as time goes on.”

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Coalition For Free Thought In Media

Please see related article: For Families of Some Killed in Iraq: Grief, Outrage and Protest
by Jay Shaft

Army Specialist Sherwood R. Baker, 30, of Plymouth, Pennsylvania, was the first Pennsylvania National Guardsman to have died in the war in Iraq. He was the 720th soldier killed in Iraq, and the first Pennsylvania Guardsman to die since 1945.

Sherwood was killed in Baghdad, Iraq, on April 26th, 2004 by a large explosion while performing site security at a suspected munitions plant. He was assigned to do security for the teams that were still looking for weapons of mass destruction. His mother still does not have all the details, but she knows Sherman lived for two hours after being evacuated to a field hospital.

The Army posthumously promoted him the rank of Sergeant after his death. He left behind a loving but grieving wife Debra, and a nine-year-old son J.D.

Dressed in desert fatigues like his father had worn, J.D. helped the honor guard as they carried his dadís coffin. As a piper played in the background his family mourned and asked how this could have happened to their loving and compassionate son. Seeing the image of young J.D. walking behind his fatherís coffin hits you right in the heart and really tells the whole story in one picture.

His family is very active in the peace movement, which makes his loss all the more painful to his mother, who has dedicated herself to promoting peace for the majority of her life. The Zappalaís have two other sons, Dante and Raphael.

Dante and his wife Selma were arrested last year in San Francisco at an anti-war protest, and he has been quite vocal in his opposition to the war.

Dante has written an essay “The Price of Death” that was published in the L.A. Times. It is a poignant and heart felt cry against his brotherís death. I have included the link here.

Here are Dante’s ending comments in the essay: ‘Just before he died, Sherwood plainly illustrated where a life of hard work and dedication gets you—hungry and thirsty in the desert. In his last e-mail, he asked that we send him and his fellow soldiers food and water. As it turns out, the most powerful military machine in the world has its soldiers on rations.’

How does this happen? I went to Halliburton's web-site to look for clues. After a dispute with the government over a few million dollars in overcharges, Halliburton stubbornly stated, “We may withhold all or a portion of the payments to our subcontractors” who provide food services. Which basically means that U.S. soldiers in Iraq don't eat. Despite its newfound billions in revenue, Halliburton has failed to fulfill its most basic responsibility—feed our troops. Our soldiers, on the other hand, have to do their job, no matter how hungry they are, or face courts-martial and time in Leavenworth. Just ask Camilo Mejia, the conscientious objector who was sentenced to a year in jail.

I've come to believe that Sherwood died for everybody else. I've had countless people tell me my brother is a hero and died defending our freedom. They may be right. In a country that promotes the virtues of the Free Market, he died for the benefit of the war profiteers and for very little benefit to himself.’

Dante wrote a letter to President Bush- “Mr. Bush, you’d have liked my brother” and there is a letter from Celeste Zappala at this link as well. Both letters are very powerful and full of pain and loss. So far George W. Bush has not responded back to Dante’s letter, although Bush has defended the war in Iraq recently and praised the soldiers who have died to bring freedom to Iraq.

The Saturday before Sherwoodís death, his brother Raphael sent off a huge care package of tuna fish, peanut butter, and coffee in response to the desperate plea for food and water. Sadly Sherwood never lived long enough to get the care package. His wife Debra waited all day on Monday for his regular phone call. At around midnight, she got a visit from an Army Major that changed the family’s life forever.

Sherwoodís father also made several pain filled comments in the days following his son’s death. He said he was not sure how Sherman felt about the war before he died. “My son went over there based on a bunch of lies,” Al Zappala sobbed. “I'm not going to be like the parents who think there was some meaning to his death – there wasn't,” he said. “It was a waste.”

The interview that follows is in Celeste Zappala’s own words. Her pain has not diminished in any way, and in fact she said it seems to grow as time goes on. Her pain is still very raw and it doesnít seem to have begun to heal yet.

Her words should be a wakeup call to everyone who thinks that the loss of a soldier’s life brings a feeling of pride and honor to the families. Like so many mothers I have spoken to, she is proud of her son’s service to country but cannot see a real reason why he died. The mixture of pride and pain at losing loved one is often conflicting and confusing. You hear it when you speak to any mother who has questioned the war and tragedy it has brought to them.

JS- Your son was one of the soldiers that died in Iraq. Since his death you have come out strongly against Bush and the Iraq War.

CZ- I was opposed to the war before it happened. I am a person who has tried to live consciously, in a non-violent manner, and also raise my sons that way, based upon my religious beliefs. So I have always been opposed to war in any form. I protested the Vietnam war, worked in the Century Movement to help refugees from Central America who were affected by American policy and involvement in Central America. I have also worked to promote human and civil rights here at home. It’s my life’s work, fighting for a humane and just world.

JS- So you were opposed to the Iraq War from the very beginning?

CZ- Well you know, when 9/11 happened I had this overwhelming fear that this would mean that war would follow. I had hope that the people of the leadership would be able to take that terrible event and turn it towards unity and peacefully seeking justice, but that isnít what happened. It always seemed inevitable with the position the administration took that the unilateral attitude of ‘Us against them’ never mind the rights of anybody else, we’re the superpower, no one else matters, weíre the only ones that matter!’

It was inevitable, absolutely inevitable, that this is what we were going to end up with.

JS- I notice this didn’t seem to be covered very well by the mainstream media on a national basis. Did you have any difficulty getting the media to respond to your voice?

CZ- For us personally our local media, well if that’s your question about it, our local media responded because I am a somewhat public figure up here, and because I know at lot of reporters, and I have friends who were reporters. So people have been actually following what was happening to us, so that when Sherwood was killed there was kind of an outpouring of response from the local media.

What was heartbreaking for me was that I couldn’t get a letter published before that happened. If you look at the general media and their overall confrontability for not just failing to have truth in reporting, but to their own complicity, that’s the issue. I think they were complicit in hiding the lies and discrepancies.

So my criticism is there, I mean I’m glad that the New York Times decided to repent. So now a lot of reporters are looking into things and people are passing information, so it’s like everyday there’s some new revelation. That’s a good thing, because you have to have the truth. You know it’s not about who said what, it’s really how do we deal in the truth? And how do we make the world a better place, and work, and be safe? How could that happen unless youíre being truthful?

JS- Well, it’s finally it gotten to a level in the mainstream press where they are somewhat exposing stories like this, but it’s still has a long way to go. You might see it in a local paper if one of the families has a negative opinion, but it is rarely in any national media.

I hardly ever see any news outlet show any parent questioning their loss on more than a casual basis. There is a severe lack of coverage in my opinion of how overlooked it has become when any parent cries out in agony.

CZ- You know, maybe the parents will be the ones who finally bring enough attention to the loss, that we are the ones who will open up the issue for other people to talk about. When we share our feelings as truth, then it can be passed on to other people, maybe they will begin to ask what the truth really is. I don’t think this will go away any time soon, and we must face all the truths and pain of the war.

Our pain is very real and not going away. I do think that is a newsworthy issue that must be reported truthfully, if the press is really about getting to the facts and being truthful in their reporting. There are parents who want to say how they really feel but they don’t know where to express it. If there are more of us being heard it could bring a change in it.

Just the fact that they don’t want the numbers to be known is so sad. I find it so incredibly appalling! When people are killed I look in the paper to see how many pages back I have to go before to find it.

JS- I can’t find it in the paper so I have used the Lunaville (Iraq Coalition Casualties) web-site every day to find out who has died and how many were killed.

CZ- Yes, that’s the one I use. I’m looking there all there all time; I’m there too much of the time in fact. I look at the people’s names and I think about who they are. I think about their mothers and what they must be going through.

Damn it! People should know about this! (Crying) They should be aware of it every day, every day, just like I am. It is so unfair to have to have to force it into someone’s mind. They should be told every day when it happens.

You think the war is being fought in the name of American democracy? Well then look at it! So take responsibility for it. This is your war; it’s everybody’s war. It’s not just mine because my son is dead, it’s everybody’s war.

To pretend that there is something wrong with showing the funerals and the coffins is sickening. There is this charade that you canít take pictures of the coffins, it might hurt us. That’s because they don’t want the numbers to be known. That is a shame, that’s just a scam, it is just a scam.

Show us, we need to know damn it! Stop hiding it from us, we are the families that want it to be seen!

JS- I did run a picture of your son’s funeral on my front page. I try to run as many pictures of the funerals and coffins as I can find. I think it needs to be seen by everyone.

CZ- Right, it does. It really does.

JS- I mean is it wrong for me to run the pictures of the funerals? I know most of the newspapers do not choose to show the pictures of the coffins at the funerals. I havenít ever asked a mother before. Is it okay?

CZ- I think it is extremely important that it happens. It needs to be done.

JS- As shocking as the pictures are, it is reality, as you’ve said. This is a mother crying over her son’s coffin, this is a son holding his father’s flag in his hands, and this is a wife and a mother holding each other up. It has become an almost every day occurrence in some part of America that there is a soldierís funeral going on.

CZ- That is what I am trying to say. Itís every day now. Every day another family has to go through that. Where is the coverage? Where?

When Sherwood was killed he was number 720, now there are 895 (today it was up to 897). Have you seen the “Eye’s Wide Open” memorial with the Fallen Soldier’s Boots going around the country?

JS- Yes, I saw it in Washington D.C. when it was at 801pairs, now it’s up to 895.

NOTE: The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), an international peace and social justice organization, is touring the country with a pair of boots with the nametag attached from every soldier who has died in Iraq. They started with 503 pairs on January 23rd, in Chicago Illinois.

Here is an article about the July 4th Philadelphia exhibit that Celeste talks about.

Sherwood Baker's nametag hangs from the 720th pair of boots. The 30-year-old Philadelphia native was killed in Baghdad on April 26. He'd been in Iraq for just more than a month when he died.

CZ- Well it was here over the 4th of July weekend and there were 857 at the beginning. We were part of a press release for the memorial. You know by the end of the weekend there were 866 pairs of boots!

Who’s the next death? Who’s the next pair of empty boots? Who’s not coming back home? They’re gone, that’s it, they’re dead. For what? Why?

At the exhibit they had the names of over 10,000 Iraqi people who had been killed on a ten-foot wall. I read the names of the soldiers out from the list and I thought it over. And you know the true amount of Iraqi civilian casualties is untold. The effect that the killing is having on our troops has to be devastating. The true price of this war is completely untold.

JS- In all the experiences you have had since your son died, how many parents have you come across who are actually afraid to express their feelings?

CZ- Most of the parents I have met have been with MFSO. I know Sue Niederer from New Jersey; sheís really outspoken, very vocal. Iíve met Lila Lipscomb, who was in the Michael Moore movie Fahrenheit 9/11. Mostly I’ve met other parents who were speaking out.

I talked to most of the parents in my son’s unit. I said, “Maybe we should think about bringing our kids home. Stop this from taking any more of them.” There was just no use. Maybe they were thinking the same thing, but you could see that in their eyes, they were afraid to say it.

JS- Are they scared to speak out or is it not an issue with them?

CZ- Maybe they wouldn’t say it, but they had to at least think it. It was there, you could tell it was

I’ll speak out! I have nothing to lose. I have absolutely nothing to lose. I’ll speak and I’ll think of those people. I will be the one to say it if they can’t. I’ll speak for the ones who won’t or don’t know they can.

JS- I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. Maybe there will be other parents that see this. Maybe a wife or mother is crying to speak out. Do you know there are families who think itís wrong to say anything against the war or question the death of their loved one?

CZ- I know there are people thinking the same thing I am, they are just afraid. It’s not wrong; it’s the only thing that’s right. It’s okay to say that you are mad and angry, it’s okay to say that.

JS- I had a mother tell me that if she opposed the war it dishonored her son’s death. She said that even though it hurt she could not say anything against the war because it made her son’s death meaningless. How can you answer something like that?

CZ- It is not wrong to say that. It does not make my son’s death meaningless to say what I do. It is the right thing to do.

JS- Anything else you want to say?

CZ- You really have to think about it really hard. The future of our children is gone; it’s dead. Part of a generation is gone forever, and they won’t ever do what they had been destined for. The future of those who loved them is dead; it’s altered forever. Nothing can fix it; nothing can bring them back. Their future is dead forever. How do you live with something like that? What might they do if they all lived? What did we sacrifice? We’ll never know because itís gone forever, no more, it just over.

JS- I can tell the pain hasn’t diminished for you at all.

CZ- It gets worse! Now I look at my daughter-in-law and my grandson, knowing how hard it is for them now that everyone is kind of backing away from them and getting back to their lives. So much pain! It isnít getting any better! (Crying)

JS- You have a nine year old grandson left without a father, right?

CZ- Yeah, my son was a wonderful father, such a caring father. He was so devoted to him. He did everything for his wife and child. He worked all the time; he was so hard working. Now he’s not here, such a loving person, he’s gone. How is that fair to my grandson?

I think there is nothing we should forget. You know I said this, that time will dim all, but it doesn’t.

JS- So you see no end to your pain and grief in the future? Can you see it getting better?

CZ- The pain of my son’s death does not get any better, it just gets worse as time goes on. Each day I feel it, and itís like every day brings a new agony.

The rest of our friends and relatives are trying to move on, and I just can’t get to that point. I don’t know how I could get over it right now. Maybe as time passes I will start to forget, but not now. Not as long as I still have to live with the ongoing death and all the suffering that the families are going through.

I have to be as outspoken as I am because it is going on for all the other parents to. Even if they can’t say it, they feel it, I know they do. I want to say it is okay if they canít say what I have. It’s okay, because I can say it for you. I can be the one expressing everyone’s hidden grief if I have to. Maybe that is what will help me start to get a little better.

JS- How do you feel when you see George Bush talking about how the Iraq war was justified even though the US Senate is now saying the intelligence was flawed and it was based on lies?

CZ- I heard James Woolsey talking on NPR last weekend. That Bastard! I heard him and it made me so mad. He was talking about the fact that this was just a flap! He said it was a temporary flap over the fact that the war was not justified.

I tried to call him and just scream! Oh, he was so smug, so smug. Oh God, it was just sickening, my son is dead and he calls it a flap. How dare he say that this is just going to blow over and go away! He justified my son’s death with such arrogance, such arrogance.

JS- I heard a comment by George W. Bush that the latest revelations are just a temporary setback to the troops. He stated that this entire public outcry damaged the morale of the troops and was a setback to their mission. He just went on television today and defended the Iraq war and said it was justified

CZ- It’s a setback unless you’re not coming back, or you’ve lost your limbs because the Humvees weren’t properly plated.

JS- When I spoke to you earlier you mentioned how little training your son actually had before he left to go to Iraq. How much training did he get? Do you think they really prepared him to go to Iraq?

CZ- Well I was saying how he was in training at Fort Dix for only two months. You know they trained him in a little bit of Iraqi culture and Arabic language. Was he prepared to go into a combat area? Was he doing what he was trained to do? No!

JS- He was a mental health worker?

CZ- Yeah, he was a caseworker for children with mental retardation. But even when he was in the National Guard he was a forward observer, so he was trained in that kind of technology and stuff. That was what he studied. He was not a military policeman! That was not his job.

That assumes it takes some form of special training and knowledge. I don’t actually think the government considered that aspect of training, and I donít think they did one bit of it. You know it’s so clear how casually, HOW CASUALLY, they have put people’s lives on the line.

JS- When your son was over in Iraq they used him in the capacity of a military police officer?

CZ- Yep that’s what they all are. That’s what everybody does who goes over as far as we know. Unless your you have a really special skill, which he didn’t have, you would be assigned as military police. In Lieu Of! That’s what they called it. So whatever they wanted to use you for was what you were going to be.

So there for how could you be trained for anything? You know? What’s your training if you’re going to be there in lieu of anybody else?

JS- I have heard this from so many soldiers and their families. They say that “We are not police officers, we’re not peacekeepers, we were not trained to do this kind of thing.”

CZ- That’s what I’m saying, that’s it exactly. How can you just give them a few weeks training and then send them off on their way?

JS- From everything I have heard from the men and the families, most of the Reservists and Guardsman got just a few weeks training. They were taught a few simple Arabic phrases and that was about it. Is that true?

CZ- Yep! Exactly! Thatís exactly right! You got the truth from whoever told you that.

JS- So what was Sherwood’s main duty? Where was he assigned?

CZ- Well he was a security detail for the Iraq Survey Group. They were the people who are still looking for the Weapons of Mass Destruction.

He was killed in an explosion at a munitions factory. We don’t know exactly what happened. We know he was on the outside, he was in his Humvee. His head was above the turret of the Humvee. An explosion went off and five soldiers ran out of the factory. They were injured but not killed. Then there was a secondary explosion. Sherwood was either hit by debris or knocked down, I don’t know. He was burned really badly, in the news picture you could see him lying by the Humvee. I only saw it once; it was all I could take, that was enough.

He was not moved right away, he lay there for a while. I know he lived for two hours, but I don’t know if he was conscious or not.

JS- Was he in an unarmored Humvee? I have heard from many troops that the worst injuries came from older vehicles.

CZ- I don’t know if he was or not. I guess if youíre in one you just hope for the best. 3 BILLION dollars a month, and they are putting sandbags in their own Humvees.

JS- Now here’s the big question. Did he have the proper body armor when he went?

CZ- He had a flak jacket. There was one thing he was missing when he went over. He was told he needed a Global Positioning Device, and we bought it for him. It was our Christmas present to him, the GPS device. They weren’t going to give him one so we made sure he had it.

He didn’t know for sure if he was going to get a flak jacket until he got to Fort Dix. When he left he got one. Good thing, because I was prepared to buy that for him as well.

JS- So he would not have had a GPS if you hadnít bought it for him.

CZ- Yes, right. One really important thing happened the week before he got killed.

He told us they were rationing food and water. They were only getting two bottles of water a day.

JS- That was the last week of March of this year?

CZ- Yes, the last week of March. I went crazy about it. I wrote letters to the Armed Services Committee, I called Congressman, I called the Senator here in Pennsylvania, everyone I could think of. I actually talked to a reporter about covering the rationing and he said he had to decline the story.

JS- He refused to cover it? Did he give a reason?

CZ- No, he just dropped it.

JS- Okay, now this something I really want to discuss with you. You know first hand as a mother who heard it from her son.

The Pentagon and Kellogg Brown and Root have said that there is plenty of food, water, and they have never had a shortage. This was something that didn’t see the front pages of the many of the papers. I did see it reported by the families, but not much in the mainstream press.

I have heard it from many parents, and most had not lost a son, they were just angry and frustrated. I have recently spoken to parents who said the rationing was constant for the forward units. I have heard that units in battle torn areas had difficulty obtaining supplies, sometimes for days or weeks.

Why do you think the question of rationing and shortages is still not being properly reported?

CZ- It may be that they’ve improved their system, but you know, for sure you know, that in November there were not enough flak jackets. That’s a fact, right? It’s reported everywhere. It’s not acknowledged, but itís reported everywhere. Maybe over time they got more stuff sent in. Maybe they did, I hope so.

What happened to Sherwood at the end of March was that the area around the Baghdad Airport was attacked. The major supply lines that were run by KBRís subcontractor, the ones that brought the big supplies in, were coming under contract default. They were under an investigation and a scandal about overcharging the Army. So the response was they went to rationing. They refused to drive to the troops that needed them, so they suspended the convoys.

Does that seem to make sense in any way? Not to me it doesn’t. Not when the troops still needed water and they didn’t get it.

But it would really strike you as curious, wouldn’t it, if you had the Green Zone stocked with adequate supplies? I mean there’s all types of water storage there for just this type of emergency situation, isn’t there? It’s curious that they wouldn’t trade with the Iraqis, especially when the Iraqis could have supplied the water right away. But NO! They had a contract with KBR for water! The fact that they didn’t get any water to the soldiers didn’t come up or even seem to matter. Rations in the desert, in 120-degree heat!

You could get a hamburger in the Green Zone, but not even a glass of water at the airport.

JS- I have heard from soldiers all the way back in February about the trading of socks and underwear for water and food. Some were telling me they traded packages from home for enough water to survive on for the day.

CZ- Right, yes, it’s true. You have to see it’s the corruption behind it all. It’s like they want you to ignore it. They want you to cringe and turn away from the harsh reality.

Ignore the man behind the curtain, because that’s not really happening here. Just believe this flag-waving story we’re telling you. It’s about how gloriously our troops are serving for the people.

Doesn’t that sound like the old Soviet Union?

JS- You’ve said they are hiding the numbers on the true amount of casualties. I have seen many reports of casualties on the battlefield and not seen any more information for weeks. Sometimes the details on the wounded are never released. I had talked to people who were trying to expose how many people were getting wounded and killed in the unarmored Humvees. Nothing really was said officially for months, even thought the parents demanded to know. Do you know the reason they refused to answer the legitimate questions of grieving parents?

CZ- That didn’t happen, it’s not on the news so it didn’t happen. Well that’s the thing that happens all the time. Now the outrage happens, and then by the time it sort of works itself through to the acceptable level of press, it’s old and not noticed.

Three months back is only a bad memory, so they can do things like burying numbers on unit casualties. The wounded can just be wheeled behind the curtain, out of sight and mind. They already hide the coffins behind the curtains, and now they do it with the wounded. When it’s exposed it’s coming from so far back that nobody really absorbs it. So this way you can do things like spinning it. It didn’t actually happen that way in Iraq, it was a false report or something, we were wrong again, sorry for that folks.

That’s how they twist it to mean the exact opposite of what we, as families know.


JS- If you’ll forgive me for saying it this way, I try to pick the wound in America’s conscience on a daily basis. I do it’s because it’s so easy for or culture to just push on from that or never deal with it in the first place. I see a willingness to forget or refuse to process the fact that hundreds of families are in very serious mourning. There is a funeral all the time now, but most people do not ever let it sink in.

CZ- Right, the ability to ignore even the worst pain and grieving is a shield I see all the time. I see people turn away from me now. I still get angry and upset and people want to know why I am still pushing it so hard.

JS- I had several people question why I was bothering to talk to you and the rest of the families after you were so public in your grief. Some journalists asked me why I would choose to cover such old and overplayed news. I am repeating that exactly from their own mouths. It was a serious question as to why I would try to cover “old news”.

CZ- Yeah we’re old news, we have all heard it before. Someone that died last week is old news because ten more have died in the paper since then. A one day flash and then before the body is buried itís off the back page and gone. That is why I get so frustrated. Oh, they covered that already, why do they keep telling us about it.

JS- I hope you don’t believe that this is old news. There was a funeral yesterday and two the day before. I saw the picture of a son standing over his daddy’s coffin crying. That is another son who had to see his father buried and will live with it forever.

CZ- I just want to know someone is hearing us. We hurt, that can’t be old news. I wish we could go on and pretend it didn’t happen. I wish we could just forget about it like everyone else.

Everyone who hasn’t lost a son seems to find it so easy to move on or just not even notice it at all. You can’t move on or recover from grief you never felt. You can’t forget pain you never felt in the first place. That’s how some people forget, because they never really know in the first place.

JS- I know that they are busy at Dover. I talked to one soldier who does ceremony detail at the funerals. He said he hasnít put his honor guard uniform back in the closet for weeks. I have heard from several pilots who fly the coffins back to Dover, and they say they have been bringing the troops home in the same plane on many flights. That has to really make you not want to reenlist or go back. They travel back with the ultimate price haunting them the whole time.

CZ- When Sherwood came through Dover they told us we had to wait and but not for how long. You know they werenít quite sure how long it would take to process him and put him through there. We were wondering why can’t they tell us, and then we realized why.

They were so busy; they were just so busy in April. They had so many bodies they didn’t know what to do with all of them. They were so busy because they hadn’t had that many in over 30 years. They didn’t know how long it would take because the guys they had working had never had to go through that volume ever before. How could they get through everything?

April was the worst, the very worst. I think 135 came through. 135 in one month! Imagine that! All the families and grief that piled up.

Imagine all the families in grieving, even the ones that won’t say a word. Almost 900 and we are sending more every day, some units are going to have to go back and see their friends die. Some of the ones that made it back the first time won’t make it this time around. Some of them will come home but not really make it. One more time could kill someone who just left and didn’t want to go back.

Our National Guard is being depleted, like my son was. Those are the heroes the ones who just go, even though they went already. They are going to pay the ultimate price and we will have to keep living with it. America are you really ready to take on that kind of grief?

Are you willing to let your child be the sacrifice? A sacrifice for what? Who wants to be a sacrifice? I know my son didn’t want to be a sacrifice, even though I am proud of his duty to his country, I can’t be proud of the facts of his death. He wasn’t ready to make the “Ultimate Sacrifice” like Bush said our troops should be proud of doing. I donít think any one wants that for their child.

Just think about that. Think about what a real sacrifice is. A real sacrifice is the fact that we lost all those innocent, bright young men and women.

Thatís the real sacrifice. It’s not worth it, for this war. It’s never worth it but this is the saddest example.

Just think about it? Please? That’s all, just think.

All of the parents interviewed for this story are active with Military Families Speak Out. Many statements, letters, photographs and other materials can be found at that website.

Jay Shaft can be contacted at

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