Coping With Death in Iraq, One Marine's Story
Sorry, I realize there are spelling and grammatical errors. The hub right now is not letting me edit or take it down. This is what it should be:
I was in Iraq a few years ago, a year that saw the most deaths of United States service members. I am a Marine, and I unfortunately, saw the deaths of many of my close friends. No amount of words can explain the unreal amount of pain a Marine feels when a fellow Marine and comrade dies right in front of them. The pain is absolutely insurmountable.
Every time I or my husband deploys, the commanding officer always makes the same empty promise to the Marines and family members as the platoon boards the place heading for war. This is almost verbatim what all the commanding officers says, "Marines and beloved family members, we are on the eve of war. We are going to come across many hard times ahead of us. but we are leaving this base as a unit, and we will come back with every single Marine". They have never kept their promise. I see in the eyes of the older Marines and myself that we know this is just a line to make families and the younger Marines feel better. We know what is really going to happen; Marines are going to die, and it doesn't matter what flowery speech the commanding officer gives, people will die. A synonym of was is death, and it always has been, and it always will be.
Growing up, I saw a lot of horror movies, and I saw many deaths on screen, and they seemed so realistic; Iraq was not like that at all. I even remember talking to a friend after we saw a very gruesome body and saying "It seems so much realer in the movies". The only thing that made me really believe everything I saw was the smell. Even if I live to be 100-years old, I will never be able to get that smell out of my head.
When a particularly good friend had died, I was very distraught. For some reason I was inexplicably mad at him, and I kept thinking "Come on, just get up and fight". When a Marine unit is under heavy artillery, we are forced to deal with that initially. One of the things that is different between Marines and other branches is we go back for our dead. Sadly, sometimes we have to come back later after regrouping then send a special party of Marines to go back for the body. We are brave, not suicidal.
When I was in Iraq, I was still 17 (but I did turn 18 there). It actually mortared all day on my birthday, I would have preferred candles instead of deadly fireworks, oh well. Since my time in Iraq (the first time), I have earned a degree in psychology. The reason why I went for a psychology degree is because I wanted to know why I felt the way I did in Iraq. I now know why I saw Iraq different from people who are let's say 25. Individuals up to the age of 21 do not have a fully formed frontal lobe of the brain. These individuals, which I was, do not fully understand the consequences of death; this is why teens think they are immortal.
While a lot of bad things happened in Iraq, I am glad I went, even though I was not even old enough to vote (and it was an election year, and everyone voted but me), or buy a pack of cigarettes. Deploying to Iraq has defined and shaped me to be the person and Marine I am today. I could never be sorry that I am a Marine, because the Marines are my family.