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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Few Days Late on This Anniversary

My son's reflections from Facebook on invading Baghdad with his fellow Marines.

Forgetting, Remembering, Hoping.
By Taggart Giles

... I have a horrible memory. I forget birthdays, names, places, work stuff, and pretty much everything else. Writing things down helps, but then I forget that I wrote it down. However, I won't, or better yet can't, forget ANYTHING from April 8, 2003.

I can't forget the sounds. I can’t forget the smells. I can’t forget the sweat, the blood, the fear, the hate, the pile of spent ammo casings, the cars racing toward me trying to end my life. I can't forget what it feels like to shoot at someone, or to be shot at. I can’t forget knowing that I would happily take a bullet for one or all of my brothers, and knowing that they would do the same. I can't forget what an RPG looks like flying past my head, or the relief I felt when it missed. I can't forget wondering who was going to make it out alive and who we would have to mourn over. I can't forget running out of food or water or ammo. I can't forget thinking that this was only one day, and wondering how many days were going to be like this. I can't forget the bullets impacting the cement just a few feet in front of us, hitting the seemingly invisible barrier and unable to penetrate. I can’t forget the memories of April 8, 2003.

I can't forget the love I had for my brothers; the heroes to my right and to my left; the clear mind; the adrenalin racing through my body. I can't forget how I had remembered every bit of training from the previous 6 years, or that EVERY other Marine did as well. I can't forget the pride I felt seeing my fireteam perform flawlessly under the worst conditions imaginable. I can't forget looking into the souls of every Marine of Fox Company, and understanding why it looked like we all just aged 10 years almost instantly.

9 years it's been; and somehow my memories become more vivid every day, like a movie you've seen thousands of times, being able to recite the lines and predict the next sequence of events as it plays on. I remember the flight home to the U.S.A. I remember coming home to a foreign land; one with strange sights and sounds and people; a place where I felt like a stranger. I remember wanting to leave this place and go back with my brothers, where I could carry my loaded rifle with me, and sleep on the floor of vacant buildings, and not worry about school, work, friends, bills, politics,

I remember my brothers. I remember the pain that they went through and continue to go through, though the bullets have stopped. I remember reading about them in the paper and seeing them on TV. I remember each of us going our separate way; getting new jobs, graduating from school, getting married; getting divorced; getting arrested. I remember moving away and losing contact with most of them. I remember craving their friendship, their companionship, their understanding. I remember the pain that I feel knowing that my brothers are suffering silently, and that I would give anything for the pain they feel to go away.

I hope that the changes I have gone through since April 8, 2012 are not permanent, and I will someday fade back to the old Taggart…someday. I hope my brothers can find peace in this life. I hope this movie stops playing someday, and I forget the words. I hope that we can all stay in touch. I hope my brothers can come to me for support, and that I will go to them. I hope that this is a priority for us. I hope that, though we are taking different paths through life, that they will remember me, and I will remember them. I hope we don’t lose another brother. I hope that we can be forgiven for our actions on April 8, 2003. I hope that we stop feeling guilty. I hope we can be happy. I hope we can forget. I hope we never forget.

-Taggart Giles


Tracy Giles said...

I married a pretty great guy!

Tracy Giles said...

He's a pretty great guy!

Laura said...

Wow! Just. . . wow!

I think the words that haunt me the most are "I hope we can forget. I hope we never forget."

Earthmama said...

Please pass the box of Kleenex.

Unknown said...

Very moving to say the least. A passage like this is just as moving/haunting as the Band of Brothers HBO movie special. Taggart is an exceptional man, and has an outstanding family to support him through all this. Tracy you are amazing!

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley