Since beginning this project 14 months ago and being a concept in our minds since my days in the sandbox of Ar Ramadi, at times my frustration and impatience cause me to lose focus of why we are doing what we are doing. What my motivation truly is behind this project and foundation. To clear my head and to refocus the continued efforts of our team, I am choosing to restate our mission, why we do what we do.
On September 11th, 2001, I was at the office, watching the world collapse, one tower at a time. Like most, I was deeply moved by the entire experience and nothing was ever the same after. I remember wanting to enlist right away, to show those bastards, whomever they were, what America could do. However, money kept calling and I kept answering. Years went by and as I watched America go to war with Iraq, I felt a sense of purpose, welling up deep within. Every male in immediate family served in some capacity during our Nation’s time of need. By 2004, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan intensified, that sense of purpose became a flood. No more could I, with good conscience, sit by and watch CNN without an urgent feeling that I should be doing something, serving my country like my Father did and my Grandfather before him.
In early 2005, I had made my choice and, to the horror of my co-workers and family, decided to follow the calling of my conscience, to give up my white-collar profession and join a brotherhood of honor and service, The US Army. By the spring of 2006, I found myself in a combat zone, one of the worst in Iraq in 2006, Ar Ramadi. My life and soul would be forever changed, scarred from the sights and sounds, the smells of the dead and dying. Immersed in a world I never could have imagined. A pseudo-reality of nightmarish proportions that would reshape the way I looked at the world, at others but more importantly, the way I viewed myself forever.
My experiences paled in comparison to many like those featured on Restrepo or the men of the 101st across town in Corregidor. Their horrors one cannot imagine, their experiences would rupture the fabric of reality for the majority of Americans. It is the lives of these men and women, the lives that I saw fade away within the walls of Charlie Med for those months I was in country. Their memory, their sacrifice is what brought me to the Army, what brought me to Iraq and at times, it is their memory that haunts my dreams and what is calling me back.
It is because of these reasons and more, that we do what we do, to help the rest of this nation understand just a bit more, what the real cost of this war is, what it has done to this generation and those still to come. We do what we do because we have seen the lives of these brave soldiers taken in an instant. Every one of these men and women has given a part of themselves, left a part of their souls on the battlefields those thousands of miles away. We do it for them, for the fallen and for those they have left behind.
Jaeson “Doc” Parsons