Quote

'In the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.'
- Abraham Lincoln -

Sunday, September 02, 2012

The Effects Of War

It's said that combat changes a person.  That it hardens the psyche.  Makes a young man sober beyond his years.  I wouldn't know.  Never been there.

But my brother's son has.

And war changed him.

Forever.

Jon Fuhrman was with the 101st Airborne Division in 2003, when his division commander, Major General David H. Petraeus, led his men into Iraq in "Operation Iraqi Freedom."

Jon was with the 101st as it and the 3rd Infantry Division pushed into Iraq and secured Baghdad.

He was there at the fierce battle in and around Baghdad International Airport.

He was in Mosul as part of the team that brought justice to Uday and Qusay Hussein in July of that year.

He witnessed death.  Including the deaths of some of his friends.

And then he came home.

A different person.

Always reserved and on the quiet side, he returned to his parents, my brother and sister-in-law, a brooding, often dark, always lonely, seemingly out of place young man.  It was as if the world had changed completely for him while he was in Iraq.  And he just didn't seem to fit in it anymore.

Over the next several years Jon bounced from job to job, trouble to trouble.  He lived on the edge.  And preferred to be there.

He brought back demons.

Demons he couldn't shake.

He'd seen too much.  Was affected too deeply.

Jon once wrote in an email:

"I think it is much worse to come home hard than it is just to stay in the place that made you hard.  I lost some friends who were good guys with kids.  I can't help feeling that I was not supposed to come home but they were.  Like I took their place or something.  I know I don't deserve it because I am so f**ked up and they wouldn't have been like me coming home.  I really think I was never supposed to leave Iraq but I took the place of some guys who should have."

The thought haunted him.

Until this past Monday.

When Jon Fuhrman killed himself.

His demons won.  His family mourns.