26 January 2008

26 JAN 2008 The duty doesn't end

26 JAN 2008 The duty doesn't end

Today, a friend sent me an article about Sgt. Blair Emery from USAToday. He died 30 NOV 2007 in Iraq. When his body came through the hospital, news that a troop had died spread through the staff like a bitter chill that was unwelcome, but you couldn't help but feel deep in your bones. The next morning his name was on the list of Significant Incident Reports. Then he was gone. His body was flown to Dover for processing. We had other patients to care for coming in the door every day. Even if we were able to put Blair's death out of our minds, there were more deaths to chill our spirits again.

Now that I'm home, war casualties are no longer in my hands. But my connection to them continues. Just as I will be linked to the little girl S. whom we helped after her gunshot wound, I will be linked to those who lost their lives while in Iraq while my fate was to carry mine home.

I can't say that it is a welcome experience to learn more about Sgt. Emery and his neighbor from Lee, Maine, Joel House, who died a few months before. It actually makes me angry to think of a life with broad potential cut short. But it is the right thing to learn more about him. We couldn't do anything to undo the damage caused by the explosion under his HMMWV, but we can do him the honor of recognizing he was an individual, and remembering him as we go forward. My deployment may be done but that duty will continue.


emergencyem said...

Very touching post.

Mary Ann said...

Chris, Thank-you for the link. I appreciate that you are continuing to bring the war home to us. ~Mary Ann

Ted said...

Chris: Timing is ironic. We had a crew up in Lee, Maine last week to sit down with the Emery and House families.

If you wish to watch the story we did up there, you can find it at www.necn.com/1/2008 .

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, as always...

Chris said...

Emm, Mary Ann, ted, I find that I am falling into my old post deployment trap of scanning everywhere for news of Iraq and walking around amazed that everyone isn't talking about it. C

MSG(R) Emery said...

Thank you for your post on SGT Blair Emery. I stumbled across your blog today, while I was doing a google search on my nephew. I am Blair's aunt, the one referenced in some articles as the military police officer. I served in the Army for 21 years, and also was a platoon sergeant in the 571st MP Co, the unit in which Blair was assigned for his enlistment. Thank you for remembering him, and your words for those who read your blog to reflect on his life. I read pages and pages of your blog, and I wish to thank you for your candor and honesty in your postings. Blair was the first Emery to go to into a combat zone, that did not return home alive. The family was and is still comforted to know he received the best care possible, and was treated with the utmost respect and dignity after his death. From a grieving aunt, thank you for remembering and mentioning this American hero in your blog.

Chris said...

Dear MSG(R) Emery,

It is very kind of you to visit and to comment. Making some contact with the important people in Blair's life shows me exactly what I know to be true: His life touched others. His service and bravery is something that benefitted all us Americans in general, and was a cause of specific pride for those who love him. His death is a loss felt by all us Americans in general, and to the people who loved him, in a deep and painful specific way. Your generosity in sending this message to me helps me settle the haunting memories of many casualties I encountered, most of whom I will never learn of the specific people their lives touched.

Thank you,