MOTHERS SHARE STORIES
The Akron Beacon Journal asked readers to share their thoughts on the Iraq War anniversary. Here are some responses:
The hardest thing I have ever done is hug my son goodbye as he left for Iraq. Nathan has always been a protector, always there to please and make you laugh. I received a letter from one of the stewardesses on his flight to Iraq with a picture of him and one of his buddies entertaining the troops. When I got the letter I cried, would he come home and be OK? While he was gone, if I did anything that was fun or if for one minute my mind wasn’t on him … I hated myself because what if I lost him while I was having a good time. When I saw that a local soldier was killed, I thanked God it wasn’t Nathan. I cried for the family who lost their child, because I knew it could have been my son.
Just before Nathan and his unit were supposed to come home I got a call from him. There was so much pain in his voice. “Mom I lost two of my friends, we are not coming home until we find their bodies. We all come home together!”
The last body was found as the unit was on their way to the airport to come home.
Brenda Weidman Jarvis
Specialist Corey Dwyer is an Iraq War Veteran. He is my son. He enlisted in the Army in May 2010 and got his orders to serve in Iraq shortly after boot camp. He left for Iraq on January 30, 2011. That day, I lit a candle and placed it inside of a statue I have in my yard. You can see the candlelight from the street if you know what you are looking for. The candle lasts about 7 days. Every day for the next 11 months, I checked to be sure the candle was lit and prayed for his safe return. It was a two-man job replacing the candle because the cover on the statue is made of concrete. My husband would lift the top off and I would quickly exchange candles. It didn’t matter what the weather, the candle never went out. When my son came home from Iraq, I drove his car to Texas to meet him as he arrived “home.” My prayers had been answered. When he came home on leave, we had a Welcome Home party. I brought the candle to the party and he ceremoniously blew out the flame. He was home.
On April 9th, 1981, my eldest son Brandon was born. Within minutes of his birth, I vividly remember my first prayer as a mother being that he would never have to fight a war.
Twenty-two years later, we would receive a letter congratulating my son of his acceptance to serve in The United States Army, not knowing he had enlisted. Brandon served two terms in Iraq, specializing in military intelligence.
Always upbeat, Brandon buoyed our spirits to avoid fueling our fears and anguish. It was not until the release of the book A Chance In Hell: The Men who Triumphed Over Iraq’s Deadliest City and Turned the Tide of War, which largely centered around the efforts of Brandon’s brigade and many others, that I learned and fully realized the magnitude of danger he and his comrades had all faced.
In that effort, Brandon lost his valiant roommate Private Vincent Pomante, also of Ohio, on Dec. 6, 2006.
To this day, Brandon wears a bracelet memorializing his death. For his contributions to the war, and vital, but potentially life-threatening intelligence, my son, Sergeant Brandon H. Laube was awarded the Bronze Medal.
The immense honor and pride Brandon’s unwavering bravery and patriotism has brought our family are beyond any words I can fully express. He is our hero!
For the fallen soldiers and their families, I can only humbly thank them for their sacrifices. May they know that I pray for them in their insufferable loss daily.