As the Dales and Cariens families continued to deal with the murder, another especially painful example of the shabby treatment of victims came to my attention.
I was working at a major military base in the Midwest. A veteran of World War II, who had been held and tortured in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, died leaving his wife bankrupt. His widow has been left destitute because the care given him in the veteran’s hospital was so poor that she had to remove him to a private facility. His condition improved, but the costs were so high that when he died, his widow had lost everything. She is bankrupt and, if it were not for her children, would be destitute. I could not help but wonder how many American families are in the same situation as a result of the wounds and injuries in Iraq. How service men and woman have been wounded in Iraq and receive inadequate treatment; how many have given everything for this country and their families go bankrupt and lose their homes?
The family wrote sixteen members of the House of Representatives about their plight: not one answered. The woman’s son is in the military and is afraid to make too much of a fuss or to go public because he fears reprisal or retaliation. Now, let me get this straight…
We go into to Iraq to bring democracy and justice to a long-suffering people. We ask young men and women to risk their lives for this cause. Will they be treated the same way the government appears to have treated the wounded for earlier wars? Once the beat of the Iraq war drums dies down what will the injured and wounded have to look forward to? Inadequate care and their families left penniless.
All of us, everyone who knew and loved Angie are doomed to wonder from now through eternity asking “Why?” We will never be able to fully recover from this tragedy, we will never get a satisfactory explanation or justification for this brutality. Each one of us will, at some point, in our own way say our silent goodbye. Our lives have been broken, and even if the pieces are put together again, the cracks will remain and one critical piece will be missing. The scares will never completely heal.
How can we say goodbye and move on when so many questions remain unanswered? How can the families of the victims of any shooting tragedy or the families of our military men and women who have died because of lies ever recover?
We want to wash away the anguish we feel so deeply, the hatred, the anger, and the pain. But hard as we try, we cannot. The wounds are too deep. We know one thing, we will not be torn apart by our rage, but neither will we go away silently. We will continue to seek answers. All my family can say is, “Angie you have slipped away, but we will not forget.” (To be continued)