Tuesday, August 31, 2004

SAD ANNIVERSARY and BIRTHDAY

Once upon a time there lived a very special young man who was very close to my heart.   For my oldest boy he was the big brother he never had, and for my husband and I he was like a son.  We met through our mutual love for hunting and the outdoors.  Our families were always sharing meals and events.

One day he was at the house after a Reserve drill and found my son's beaver pelt, and rubbed his face in it.  "I love beaver fur" he said with appreciation.  "I need to get a beaver, I've never had one and it feels soooooo good".  I just stood there laughing so hard and he thought I was nuts!  Another day he came into the house and found Rocky running around in one of my longsleeved teeshirts and one of her brother's sweatpants.  He wrestled her to the ground, then tied the sleeves and extra-long pant legs together so she couldn't move.  That was the last time I could keep up with Rocky.

After almost a year in the Reserves Nolan enlisted in the regular Army.  What happened after that is still in question.  We know he suffered a heat injury while awaiting placement in bootcamp.  We know the severe sunburn to his freshly shaven head went untreated except for some cream from the clinic.  We know that the area he was training in was experiencing heat wave conditions at the time.  We know he sought help from the doctors and chaplin after he started experiencing confusion and other problems once his basic training began.  We know the Red Cross was contacted by his family.  We know his buddies went to the 'leaders' to voice their concerns.

We know that Nolan sought help.  We know that he did not receive any.  We know that Nolan ended his life on August 29, 2000.   We don't know why.  And we don't know HOW this could have been allowed to happen.  Theres so much more to this story that I can't go into.  So much good has come from it because of the determination of his father and family and because of the determination of others in high places who have recognized the tragedy and refuse to allow it to repeat itself with another young life.  We will never know of the heartaches that have been averted because of changes made through these efforts for improvement.... but oh, the price was great.  Nolan would have been 23 today.  He should have been eatting cake with his family.  Instead, they sit at a table with an empty chair and share the memories of a life that ended too soon.  Yes, a very sad day indeed.

Soon my own son will be joining the military and leave for bootcamp.  I can't tell you how worried I am that something might happen to him. Oh, he's a strong boy, a smart boy.... nothing will happen to him... but so was Nolan.  Its hard, but I must have faith in all of those involved to bring my boy safely back.  Back for what?  To go into battle?  I remember as a teenager vowing never to have children because I didn't want them to have to see the face of war.  I'm glad that I changed my values over the years for now I have 5 great kids.  It is with great sadness that I must raise them in time of war.  But I know that Nolan will help to watch over my children in spirit as he did in person.  Happy Birthday Nolan.

11 comments:

mzgoochi said...

That is so sad. I'm sorry Dorn.

ladydriversammie said...

How awful!  No wonder you worry about your boy going off to the military.  You would think they would take better care of our military personnel than that.

Sammie
http://journals.aol.com/ladydriversammie/MovinOn

purplectigger said...

How Sad. Now I know why you worry so much about your boy going in to the military. We will say prayers for him and you.
Happy Birthday Nolan.
R.C.

demandnlilchit said...

(((((Dorn))))) I know the hug is only around your name but I hope you can still feel it in your heart! Your entry was a great way to pay tribute to Nolan, and rest well knowing the changes in the Military, made in Nolans memory, will protect your Son now.
Ü Demandn

bigalsbaby03 said...

(((((Dorn)))))

Mish

wumzels2 said...

i have been on an emotional roller coaster for the last 12 or so hours.......and of course, even a commercial could set off tears........but this story brought them completely....flowing down my cheeks.  i had a girl child, and even with women in service to our country these days, i don't have to worry about my child going off to war....unless SHE chooses to do so.  i have always felt the pangs of sympathy when i hear of a mother's son going to war.........or even into the military for bootcamp, for war is always something whispered about and is usually inevitable.. after reading this, and crying for the ones left behind in this young man's life, i also celebrate the part of your entry stating alot of good came out of this........at least his untimely death was not in vain.....and i pray your son will never see combat........but if he does, know that God, however you perceive Him, is watching over your son, and the love of his family goes with him wherever he may travel.  blessings, regina
http://journals.aol.com/wumzels2/SEDUCTIONOFLIFE

angieabk said...

I have friends in Texas whose son starting doing drugs right after boot camp.  He went to the chaplain for help... he went to his CO for help,... he went to a on site counselor for help... so on and so on.  They kept putting him off... "Come back next week."  So he called his parents... told them he was addicted and needed help and wasn't getting it on base.  So they started calling.  EVERY DAY.  nothing.
Before to long he was in so deep .... they found him on the floor of his room in a drug induced coma in which he stayed for almost three months.  When he came out of it... brain damage.  He's kind of like a really slow 12 year old now.
His parent's sued the army and won.  They had proof that they and their son had gone to all these different people for help and no one did.
It isn't the army's fault that he did drugs.  That was his fault.  It wasn't the army's fault that he got addicted.  That was his fault too.  But when he went for help they should have helped him.
Anyway, in a way, they lost their son too.  Scary when you have to send your son of the military that way.
But overall, I know it's a good program.
Thinking of you AND Nolan's family.
Have a good day.
angie

ryanagi said...

I never hear any heart-warming tales of bootcamp. I know the military has to instill blind discipline in the troops, but they shouldn't have to break men's spirits or their bodies to get it. :-(  I still have the letters my brother wrote me from bootcamp. Just the fact that he wrote ME letters says a lot. My brother and I can't stand each other on a normal day. -B

kimbellina1957 said...

{{{{{{DORN}}}}}}}}},,,,,THERE ISNT A WHOLE LOT I CAN SAY THAT HASNT ALREADY BEEN SAID HERE, BUT, I AM SOOOOO VERY SORRY TO READ THAT THIS HAPPENED TO SUCH A SWEET, AND YOUNG MAN. I KNOW YOU HAVE A BIG HEART, AND THAT IS WHAT MOST DEFINITELY ATTRACTED NOLAN TO YOU, SO , HE WAS AS BLESSED, I FEEL, TO KNOW YOU , AS YOU WERE TO KNOW HIM. AND THATS WHY I BELIEVE HE IS WATCHING OVER YOU AND I ALSO STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT GOD WILLLLLLL WATCH OVER YOUR BABY SON WHILE HE IS AWAY FROM YOU. I FEEL VERY HONORED AND MOST PRIVELEDGED TO KNOW YOU , KNOWING YOUR SON IS GOING TO PROTECT ME WHILE SERVING IN THE MILITARY. THATS ONE BRAVE YOUNG MAN YOU HAVE, AND I KNOW YOU ARE SO VERY PROUD OF HIM FOR WHAT HE IS GOING TO DO. HOW LUCKY YOU ARE TO HAVE A SON LIKE HIM. :)

sdoscher458 said...

Let's pray that peace comes soon.  God must of needed a special soul in heaven, that's hard comfort for those that loved him....it's too hard when the young die, it's against the nature of things..... Sandi

sprite1229 said...

wow..that was really nice..i think u did a great job in letting us all know what a great kid he was and he would be happy to know it too..i know im late but happy belated b-day Nolan.