Thursday, August 27, 2009

Afghanistan

My favorite cousin growing up was Brooke. We were only a year apart in age and so we would spend all of our time together playing at family parties. She was funny and sweet and we had a lot of fun trying to avoid housework and our little sisters. As we've grown up she has continued to be funny and sweet. She served a mission for our church. She went to college and became a teacher, and than just two years ago she married Cory Jenkins, an equally sweet and fun guy. He was a physicians assistant who moved her to Washington where he had been stationed with the United States Army. Brooke got pregnant and had this sweet little baby Reagan just a few days after my little Peach was born. A month later her husband shipped out with his group for a year tour in Afghanistan. Monday he died. His convey drove over a roadside bomb and he and the three other people in his vehicle were killed. In an instant that was it. Cory Jenkins, loving husband and son, brand new father, healer was gone from this world.

I don't want to debate about the politics of the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. My personal feelings on Iraq are mixed but I'm sure of my feelings on Afghanistan. Long before September 11th that country was taken hostage by an extremist group. Afghanistan was a functioning country with a well educated population, but the Taliban shut away half that population forbidding them to be outside their homes without a male relative. Health care, education, and politics were crippled, which led to a downward spiral in quality of life for almost the entire country. I was in college at the time, a member of Amnesty International, calling jewelers to find out if they had blood diamonds in their shops. We watched what was going on in Afghanistan and prayed someone would step up to help but no one did, and we were just dorky kids who didn't know how to do anything. When September 11th happened the US went to Afghanistan but the majority of the troops were sent to Iraq. Over time the Taliban gained strength again and the fighting in Afghanistan has continued on, and for many people including myself become almost background noise. I've watched Good Morning America where they mention, "Four soldiers died in Afghanistan or Iraq today" and the number briefly registers and then I move on with my day. I lost sight of the fact that when they say, "Four soldiers died today," what they are really saying, is that today for four families the world has essentially stopped turning. Forty-Five military families have lost someone this month alone. Lets not forget that this isn't just numbers but these are families lives. Here is a site that helps military families. I'm going to try and be more aware of not just what is happening in my own family but what is happening all over the world.

7 comments:

Jessica Bybee said...

That is so so sad. Thanks for the reminder--- I totally forget. I will pray for your family! God bless them all!

tweedlediva said...

I'm so sorry Crystal.

Nancy said...

This was beautiful, in a tragic sort of way. Thank you for sharing this. My thoughts are with your cousin, specifically. She's living my worst nightmare come true. :(

Ivy said...

Forest has a good friend who just got back from Afghanistan. While he was out there those "numbers" of soldier deaths mentioned on the news definitely hit a lot closer to home. Thanks for the post, and I'm sorry about your family's loss.

ArmyWife said...

Hello,
I worked with CPT Cory Jenkins in as a RN case manager helping his brigade get ready for their deployment. I worked with him every day, 40 hrs/week for over a year. I'll never forget Cory. I recall his excitement over Brooke's pregnancy, and soon after baby R was born, I saw them at our local 4th of July parade. The last thing I said on the 4th was, "BE CAREFUL IN AFGHANISTAN." He looked at me with his big huge smile & nodded yes. He had his baby in a snuggly. I miss him terribly. I know his professional work ethic, I've seen him first hand time & again with soldiers. He treated them with dignity, respect and as a leader. We all miss Cory terribly. They miss him in Afghanistan.
Well said about how we listen to how many have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan today, but too many are 'at the mall' rather than truly hearing what is happening & how many lives are devestated.
Two blocks from me was one of the other soldiers killed in the Stryker with Cory. His name: CPT John Hallett. He leaves behind his new baby (he never met her), a 3 yr old and a 1 yr old, & his wife.
Thanks so much for sharing your cousin, your thoughts on the war and your gratitude for Cory and all the soldiers like him.
Lisa
Ft. Lewis, WA

ArmyWife said...

Hello,
I worked with CPT Cory Jenkins in as a RN case manager helping his brigade get ready for their deployment. I worked with him every day, 40 hrs/week for over a year. I'll never forget Cory. I recall his excitement over Brooke's pregnancy, and soon after baby R was born, I saw them at our local 4th of July parade. The last thing I said on the 4th was, "BE CAREFUL IN AFGHANISTAN." He looked at me with his big huge smile & nodded yes. He had his baby in a snuggly. I miss him terribly. I know his professional work ethic, I've seen him first hand time & again with soldiers. He treated them with dignity, respect and as a leader. We all miss Cory terribly. They miss him in Afghanistan.
Well said about how we listen to how many have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan today, but too many are 'at the mall' rather than truly hearing what is happening & how many lives are devestated.
Two blocks from me was one of the other soldiers killed in the Stryker with Cory. His name: CPT John Hallett. He leaves behind his new baby (he never met her), a 3 yr old and a 1 yr old, & his wife.
Thanks so much for sharing your cousin, your thoughts on the war and your gratitude for Cory and all the soldiers like him.
Lisa
Ft. Lewis, WA

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