Fallen Warriors

Alabama's Fallen Warriors: The price one state paid for the war on terror

Profiles of all the servicemen and servicewomen with ties to Alabama who have died since the War on Terror started have been put together into an e-book, available for $5.99. Twenty-five percent of all proceeds will support ongoing efforts to preserve the memory of Alabama’s fallen military personnel.

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I started following military affairs carefully after my only child graduated from high school in 1998 and went straight into the Army.

He was part of the initial wave of troops invading Iraq in March 2003.

He safely returned to civilian life and is now married with two adorable children.

He completed his Master’s degree in public health policy at the University of Georgia and is working in the field in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

But I have never forgotten the sheer terror I lived with for the several months my son was in Iraq and I feel deep compassion for those whose sons and daughters, spouses and parents did not come home.

At the very least, I felt that I could honor those fallen heroes by telling their stories.

When The Tuscaloosa News started the Fallen Warriors series in November 2005, 39 troops from Alabama had died since the war on terror started.

In the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of Alabama’s service members who have died has more than tripled. I was features editor at The Tuscaloosa News when the series began.

Although I left the paper, I continued to write these profiles on a freelance basis for The News until the series was stopped in May 2009. Approximately 98 profiles were published in the series but 143 have died to date since Sept. 11, 2001. Profiles of all 143 troops are included in the e-book.

Honoring the fallen

For the most part, family members were willing, even happy, to talk with me about their fallen warrior.

It seems to be a comfort to them that someone cares enough to not forget the service their loved one provided for this country as well as to just have another opportunity to talk about the great memories they have of their spouses, children, parents, siblings or friends.

It’s not always easy for me to be with their grief, but I know that what they’re experiencing is a thousand times tougher than any discomfort I have.

My heart goes out to all who have suffered such a loss.

Profiles of Fallen Warriors

See the profiles that were published in The Tuscaloosa News by clicking on the name.