Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Combat Doesn't End

For parents of war dead, the combat doesn't end

September 28, 2010 - The conclusion of combat operations in Iraq this month can't ease the grief for one mother. 'His part in this conflict is over,' writes Lee Ann Doerflinger, who lost her son five years ago.

Lee Ann Doerflinger's son, Thomas, was killed in action in Mosul, Iraq, on Nov. 11, 2004, at age 20. Thomas had requested to be buried in a cemetery near his parents home in Maryland. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times / September 17, 2010)

The week that Army Spc. Thomas K. Doerflinger was killed in Iraq at age 20, a friend in the neighborhood brought his parents a felt banner with a gold star. Tradition holds that a grieving mother hangs it in her window until the war is over. As it turned out, the war outlasted the banner.

Years passed; the red border faded. Repairmen who came to their door on leafy Collingwood Terrace would innocently inquire, then stammer their condolences. The Doerflingers didn't feel right displaying a kind of grief that was never going to go away, so after a while they put the banner in the hutch.

Endings can be complicated for families of the fallen. {read rest}

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