Book details horrors, sacrifices of war
Posted October 10, 2009on:
The news casts show brave soldiers leaving their tearful families to travel to foreign lands to fight a war. Broadcasts report the battles and the soldiers lost or the return of injured and dead.
In her book, “The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family,” Martha Raddatz writes of the horrors, realities and sacrifices that go with the lives of the soldiers and their families as they leave for war torn lands. She documents the rescue of a platoon in Sadr City on April 4, 2004 only days after the soldiers arrive in Iraq to continue the transition process at Camp War Eagle.
As wounded Lieutenant Shane Aguero waits with his platoon for rescue, he remembers the last words his wife said to him before he left Fort Hood, Texas, “In every war, she said, “there is always a platoon that gets pinned down. Don’t let it be your platoon.”
Throughout the book, Raddatz fills in the timeline of the dramatic rescue effort and what all of the soldiers go through. She also describes the families of each of the soldiers, and how they cope with the absence of their spouses and family members. Photos provide glimpses of Sadr City and the attack along with the soldiers involved in the fighting and their families.
As the battle progresses, Chaplain Ramon Pena prays for the wounded, administers last rites to the dead and worries about the mental state of the remaining soldiers. Doctors perform life-saving techniques and administer to the dying and the wounded in make-shift quarters. Commanding officers plan and do their utmost to save and keep safe their men as they promised their families before leaving Fort Hood.
Back at Fort Hood, television accounts of the fighting in Sadr City come to the attention of the families. Those in charge mobilize to inform next of kin of deaths, and the Family Readiness Group comes to their aid after notification to all. Because of the latest technology such as e-mail and cell phones, those in charge fight to keep the rumors and false details to a minimum.
Raddatz brings the reader into the soldiers’ fight and into their families’ lives. Many tears flow as the realities of war become apparent with the loss of soldiers and the reality that their families will never see them again. Each loss spawns a different reaction from family members. One pregnant wife packs up her two small daughters and drives 14 hours to get to her parent’s house. The loss of Cindy Sheehan’s son, Casey, drives her to demonstrate against the war. Another mother thanks the military representatives for bringing the news of her son’s death.
Raddatz also captures the fierce camaraderie of the soldiers as they rush to the aid of those in need. Even with severe wounds, they fight on to help their buddies.
Although the book becomes difficult to read because of its harsh reality and the number of tears that it generates, it should be a must read for everyone. If these brave soldiers and their families can sacrifice for our freedom, we need to read this book to discover the realities of military service and the toll of war on soldiers and their families.
The comments listed with this video reflect what happened at Sadr City on April 4, 2004: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngShup-kWRU.