My son, Roman, served two long tours of duty as an infantryman in Iraq during the height of the insurgency and returned home with a Purple Heart. While he was in Iraq, I chronicled that experience from the perspective of the home front for several publications. In writing those stories I hoped that other Blue Star families would find their own experiences reflected in my words, but I also wanted to reach readers without a military connection and invite them for a time into the uncertain world of families with a loved one in a war zone.
With today’s all-volunteer military it is too easy, I believe, for most Americans to feel disconnected from the conflicts our country is engaged in and to feel that war is someone else’s job, someone else’s responsibility. So I also wrote in hopes of bringing home the fact that, regardless of our political differences, as Americans we are all in this together.
This video tells the story of my son’s phone call home just before he headed to war for the first time. Many Blue Star moms and dads have told me that they’ve had similar conversations with their sons or daughters when deployment to a combat zone was imminent. To this American, that fact speaks volumes about the courage and character of our young men and women in uniform.
Blue Star mom and author of Minefields of the Heart: A Mother’s Stories of a Son at War, Sue Diaz is an award-winning journalist who also leads writing workshops for war veterans at the San Diego Vet Center and Naval hospital.