They Are Not Numbers

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received this email the other day. I have removed the names:

Dear Ms.
Sheehan ~ I wasn’t sure how else to contact you, so am sending
this thru the gsfp website. I just want to thank you for posting
your essay entitled, "A Peaceful Day."

My cousin,
“brave soldier,” 30, originally of Indiana, was one of the five
U.S. soldiers killed on Saturday, October 15th – Iraq’s "peaceful
day." He is survived by his wife, his two children, his parents,
his sister, our grandma, his aunt, his two uncles and his two
cousins. We are currently awaiting confirmation per dna identification.

I thank you
for taking notice. The loss of his life and that of his comrades
does not make for a peaceful day ~ may their souls rest in peace.

Thank you
for your efforts.

I received
this email today from a distraught Gold Star Mother:

How? I have
so many questions…..How I do I stop the vulgar pain in my chest?
How do I do this? How I do I continue to breathe but cannot live?
How do I do this? How do I keep my soul in my body? How do I do
this? How do I close my eyes wondering if sleep should come but
yet knowing if I sleep I will awaken to know this is not a nightmare
but my life? How do I do this? How do I love someone with my every
being but cannot ever hold him again? How do I do this? How do
I go on without that sweet face that brought more joy to my life
than I ever deserve never be seen by my eyes again? How do I do
this? How do I stop the scream that no one hears but me? How do
I do this? PLEASE TELL ME…how do I live without my child, my
son, my heart, my soul, my joy, my validation to my life…Please
tell me …how do I do this? How does the world go on without
Steven….how do I do this?

received this email yesterday from a mom who doesn’t “qualify” to
be a Gold Star Mother (from the other org., she does belong to GSFP)
because her son committed suicide. He suffered horribly from PTSD.


He (Gov.
Mitt Romney, R-Ma) was asked about his five boys and his answer
was that they were grown, with families and they made their own
choices. He then reminded everyone that our children chose to
enlist. Aggressively recruited would be a better phrase. And then
not told the truth, only to discover like my son that he had made
a big mistake. He went on to say that he had attended all the
funerals. Kevin said simple, no you haven’t… Both Kevin and
Debbie felt that the wall was up and that no change of attitude
would be forthcoming from our Bush “yes” man. On the positive
side his chief of staff spoke to Kevin privately about veteran
affairs and that they would like to improve the system.

I find that
I can’t get Jeffrey out of my mind. I can see him at 11–12
years old jumping in the car, when I’d pick him up at a friend’s.
It’s so real…it’s almost like you can reach out and touch him.
What a world of hell this administration has put us in. One we
will live in all the rest of our days…

2000th tragically appalling death of American troops
is, unfortunately, coming up rapidly in Iraq.

official death count today from the War Department’s Casualty site
is 1992. The toll could reach 2000 within a couple of days.

the 1992, 13 are pending notification. I have written about “pending
notification” before. 13 families are going through their normal
lives today not even knowing that the other shoe is about to drop.
They have been worrying about their loved one for days, weeks, or
even months. Some of them may know that 11 of our children have
been killed in the last 2 days and they may be anxiously awaiting
news. Will it be their lives destroyed today? Or is it another family
who was randomly picked by the universe to suffer this violent assault
on their homes?

are so many people in our country today that are happily certain
that their lives are not about to be turned upside down because
their darling child will be killed in a meaningless war. This would
include every member of this criminal administration and Congress
and every person who puts headphones on and spews right-wing hate
from their mouths. Not one of these people who mostly support the
war, either outspokenly, or tacitly by their silence in not calling
for an end to the occupation of Iraq, have any idea of the horror
of laying awake at night worried about your wonderful child, or
walking around all day with an icy-cold stomach because you heard
that soldiers were killed in Iraq today.

know that George Bush and his supporters who are crumbling like
3-day-old sugar cookies care not one whit about the people they
have sent to die and kill innocent people in Iraq. We know that
George, Dick, Condi (who I believe is the Deputy Secretary of War…she
never thinks of the Diplomatic solution), Donny (In charge of the
killing department), and the rest will never admit that they made
a mistake, because guess what folks? Things are going just as they
have planned in Iraq! They are happy as clams in their shells that
things are in chaos and turmoil in the Middle East. That means that
they and their partners in crime can rake in more money, rape Iraq
of its resources and empty our treasury of money and our communities
of future leaders.

little vignettes of pain that I have shared with you are just 3
stories out of millions. Out of the tens of thousands of mothers
in Iraq who have had their children killed, how many of them remember
their baby boy or pre-teen child with their innocent eyes reflected
with the mom’s hopes and dreams of their future?

had such a bright future ahead of him. Someone asked me the other
day what I miss about him the most. I just miss him. I miss everything
about him. I miss his presence on this planet. I miss his nave
joy and heartbreaking hope for the future. I miss his future and
I remember his past with love and pain.

the sorrowful day of the 2000th soldier killed, I am
sure there will be candlelight vigils all over the country to honor
the ones who have been killed. That is nice, but that doesn’t help
bring our other troops home or insure the safety of the Iraqi people.

the day of the 2000th, I will be in DC. I will go to
the White House. Our house. I will sit on the sidewalk again and
demand that the war criminals who live and work in there bring our
troops home. I suggest instead of candlelight vigils and singing
“Give Peace a Chance” every person who cares about ending the immorality
of the occupation of Iraq take signs and their presence to their
Congressional offices near them and demand that each and every Congress
person do everything in his/her power to bring our precious lifeblood
home from the nightmare.

is time to get peacefully radical.

day of the fraud-filled constitutional referendum in Iraq, George
said: “Democracies are peaceful countries.”

hold him and our other elected officials accountable for that hypocritical
statement. If George won’t make it so, we must!

young people aren’t numbers. Our young people are confined to early
graves because of criminals who should be confined to prison that
are profiting handsomely from the undeclared mess in Iraq. The Iraqi
people are less than numbers. If they are counted or thought of
at all, they are very often wrongly counted as “insurgents” when
they are children and women.

mere numbers will wake America up, think of Dr. and Mrs. Death (Donny
and Condi) when they say that this occupation could last at least
a dozen or more years.

number are you comfortable with? One was too much for me.

22, 2005

Sheehan [send her mail]
is the mother of Spc.
Casey Austin Sheehan, KIA 04/04/04
She is co-founder of Gold
Star Families for Peace
. She is the author of Not
One More Mother’s Child
and Dear
President Bush

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