Today marks 3 months since my surgery. It is also a somber day as the country remembers and immortalizes soldiers who gave it all for past, present and internal wars.

Iraq 2009 to 2010 Alpha company, a merry band of misfit monkeys of an infantry battalion were sent to a little slice of dusty paradise between paradises, we came home with all our fingers and toes. There were, of course some things left. Memories, sweat, blood, and I think and appendix and some TBI off the carrying handle of a 240b. It’s why we couldn’t have nice things.

However, jokes aside, we all came home. Those attached to us went their ways and our company and its soldiers went on with their careers. But now, we no longer have all our fingers and toes and I have a legitimate fear in the back of my head that I’ll get the news of yet another.

For those that have lost, I fight on for you. For those still fighting, you are not alone. For those who feel like they are teetering on the edge just know this, there are people out there and people whom you have yet to meet that need you in their lives. Fight for those who have lost it on their battlefield, fight for those who you have yet to meet. We all change lives no matter the fight.

Benjamin Scott from Tenmile, Oregon came to use a few months in country, he and Nick Rogers hit it off. He’d always tell his story by walking and explaining us in to where Tenmile is, the middle of nowhere and that he had never met a black person in his young life. Enter Nick.

Nick Rogers, our character and loved friend from Atlanta Georgia was attached to us from the Reserve’s. He is one of the funniest and most southern black guys I’ve ever met and Ben Scott, the whitest redneck coastie from the middle of nowhere, became very close friends in our time in our dusty middle of nowhere.  
It was fluid and normal, and a testament that in the military there is no color except the—then terrible—ACU uniforms. You couldn’t help but laugh with the two, and how their home cultures meshed.

Benjamin Scott, you’re missed.

Spc. Joseph Ray, I didn’t work along side him as long as Ben. He was too kind for war, and loved everything around him. Being surrounded by crusty, grumpy, rigid infantry hadn’t changed that aspect of him.

He was always late, I remember that when he was attached to my squad for a single rotation. We’d always heckle him for it jokingly.

Being the grump I was, I would never ease up around him, as he was so god damned happy all the time and being crusty tired infantry that irritated me. A fault of mine, later to be changed. I could blame the heat, or his small miss steps but the one thing that stood out above it all, he was just a good person. I knew that and others did too.

That unwavering kindness is what I remember of Joseph Ray, and will continue to remember.

For the many others, along side Scott and Ray you are not forgotten. The unnamed, unmentioned, someone somewhere is keeping you immortal.

Rest easy, Brothers.
In Valhalla, heaven or hell… don’t break everything by the time the rest of us get there.

For those here to follow my health, My small 3 month update for today is just my weight. 119.2 pounds. Now go celebrate the lives of the lost! Go live for those who can’t.

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