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Forgive Me

All Posts  August 16 2008
 — By Scott Lee


I have been searching all over the web looking for like minded people to link with my site. I came across this photograph shot by Zoriah, an independent embedded photojournalist, while reporting from Iraq. The monochrome image embodies the deeply conflicting sense of sorrow and duty that I have been attempting to convey.

Taking another’s life in the name of freedom, patriotism and because of your job description profoundly changes the person. How do we reconcile the killing of another human being and still maintain our principles and values? Someone who has not done so can say all they want about what they think or believe.

When a soldier goes home to his or her family, friends and community, how do we relate to people who expect the person that is no longer us? How do we tell them that each time we took a life that, we too died in spirit a little more?

They congratulate us on a job well done and we tell ourselves that we did our job, what we were trained to do. They tell us how proud they are, and we cannot make them understand how we feel guilty for that pride.

How do we tell them that we cannot get those faces or images out of our mind?

Excerpt from Zoriah’s blog:

A couple of days ago I went out on a foot patrol in Sadr City with a young a soldier and noticed the tattoo on his arm, featuring a rosary and the words “Forgive Me.”

I asked him what the story behind it was. He said, “After my first tour in Iraq, I went back home to the states and all my friends called me a murderer and killer. I guess I started thinking a lot about all the things I had done over here…you know.”

(3) Readers Comments

  1. No one can feel your pain or understand what you have seen or been through but you, or another Soldier or Marine, or even the guys in the air who drop the bombs. I have sat with many young Soldiers now who needed someone to talk to who wasn’t family or friend from home and listened to the anguish. They would tell me what they couldn’t say to those back home because I’m not connected. That tattoo says it all. When they write or call home, people want to hear “neat war stories” and how cool it is to “blow shit up”. But no one is really there to listen to them and feel their hearts bleeding for their brothers, or for what they have seen and done. They simply don’t want to hear it. So they hold it all in and it eats away at their souls a little at a time. God Bless them all.

    Great post RG. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Intersting quote “After my first tour in Iraq, I went back home to the states and all my friends called me a murderer and killer.”

    Bad enough that we might feel bad on our own. When our own ‘friends’ call us murderer’s it has to destroy any chance of putting the war in the proper context.

    So the ‘peace lovers’ destroy another veteran. GOD WAR IS HELL, okay, but when the people back here attack us for doing the RIGHT thing …

    We didn’t all commit war crimes …

  3. There is no good in war. There is only pain and loss. But unfortunately that is the ultimate price we must pay for our freedom and for that which is most precious to us%u2026life itself!
    It is ultimately because of this personal pain and sacrifice that we can never forget our men and women in uniform. Because of this personal pain and sacrifice of war that we may be free, we can never disgrace or humiliate our service men and women. Never! Remember them and support them always.
    Most importantly love them and keep them in your prayers daily for that is what through the grace of God gets them through to the next day.
    Because of them I am eternally grateful,

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