I read about your project in People this week and only wished I had something like this 17 years ago when my husband Sgt. James Casey Joyce was killed in Mogadishu, Somalia, in the story of Black Hawk Down.
I was 19 and Casey was 21 when we married after dating for 2.5 years. We moved to Ft. Benning the day after our wedding with no honeymoon to start our married life. Casey was an Army Ranger, and I knew Rangers “led the way” in most dangerous situations. In 1993 there wasn’t a whole lot of situations going on in the world, but a few “hot spots” that took them away at a moment’s notice, but returned them back to Ft. Benning fairly quick. I guess that’s why when I found out he had been sent to Somalia from a Texas training I was extremely naive.
Back then there was no cell phones, nor internet available, so we relied on letters. I’m grateful now for my 22 handwritten letters I have locked in my safe box. The weekend he died we did get to talk to our husbands via hand-held radio for 5 minutes in the Captain’s office, and I was lucky to be the very last one the Saturday night before he died! The next day, when all of the Ranger Regiment were fighting an intense battle in the streets of Mogadishu, the rest of our wives phone calls were canceled. We knew it was bad, because there was one report on CNN that said 11 soldiers had died. Well, Monday morning I received the knock at the door, that all military widows dread.
My life changed at that moment. Casey and I had been married 2 years 5 months and 9 days. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery per his request. His funeral was shown on CNN because he was the first out of the 18 soldiers that died to be buried.
It’s been 17 years and I still have those moments that can take me back to thinking about his voice, laugh, smile, etc.. I have a wonderful life now, too, a husband of 15 years- 2 sons (12 and 8), and a daughter (7)- But not many understand how I can talk about a wonderful past life and fabulous new life all in one breath! I wouldn’t take one moment away from either one.
Kudos to you ladies who started this organization! Peace to you ladies who know exactly what I’m talking about, and strength to all of you ladies for the years to come!