“The military is mostly filled with people who genuinely desire to do the right thing. More Marines receive the Medal of Honor for jumping on grenades than any other action.
(6/6) “We like to say that God has a plan, but we just didn’t get to have a say in it. After the boys died, we dedicated our lives to encouraging young people to get help with depression.
(5/6) “I knew the moment Mark came home. The general was with him. That morning I’d seen on the Internet that two soldiers were killed in Iraq.
(4/6) “Jeffrey was set to deploy not long after Kevin’s death. I begged him not to go. I remember we went on a walk, and he said to me, in this real mature voice: ‘Dad, you know I have to go.
(3/6) “I lost my dad when I was eleven. So I know what it means to be sad. I just didn’t know that you could die from being too sad.
(2/6) “The Army was different back then. You have to remember, we had all those years of peace. For us it was swim meets and soccer games.
(1/6) “We met in college. Mark had long hair and a beard. He was class president so there were posters of him hanging up around campus.
“We were built to think alike. Everything is so standardized in the military that you can function without thinking.
“I don’t feel good about it. It will bother me for the rest of my life and honestly I’m happy about that.
“I have professors at Columbia who view me as a terrorist for fighting in Iraq. But I believe that America is an example to be emulated, and I went over there to provide those people with basic human freedoms.
(2/2) “In Afghanistan I spent so much time imagining what it would be like when I came home. I built up this perfect world.
(½) “ I don’t think it’s possible to be a medic in a conflict zone and not have something stay with you.
(3/3) “After I had the flashback that night, two of the guys on my team came up to me and said: ‘You’re getting help.’ I said: ‘No I’m not.’ And they said: ‘Yes you are.
(2/3) “I kept having these nightmares of being trapped in a burning vehicle. They were non-stop. I’d wake up screaming and I couldn’t breath.
(1/3) “I was inside an armored carrier with my platoon commander. He tried to open a pressurized fuel container and it sprayed across the vehicle and hit a camping stove that he was using to make hot chocolate.
(2/2) “We celebrated my Dad’s 50th birthday two weeks before. It was a surprise party. I wanted to borrow Stephen’s truck to help pick people up from the airport, but he wouldn’t let me.
(½) “Everyone who comes back from deployment fills out a form. It’s a standard psychological evaluation.
(4/4) “He didn’t even tell me he was enlisting. He called his dad one day and said: ‘Don’t tell Mom.’ I remember it was Halloween.
(¾) “Sometimes my anxiety would get so bad that I’d turn completely white. I’d shoot out of bed some nights, and my heart would be racing, and I’d start running around the room trying to find stuff.
(2/4) ‘If you don’t do your job, people will die.’ That message was hammered into our heads during officer training.