"I can't tell you where I'm going, but I won't be home for Christmas. You'll know when it happens." Words that took the bottom out of my soul.
Two sons. One Navy, one Marines. The Marine was part of the ground forces that went into Iraq at the very beginning....and there were some very long nights while he was there. My Navy man was on board ship as part of the same battle group as the USS Cole, and was part of the rescue/recovery operation after the bombing, then later spent his own long, dark year in Guantanamo Bay, keeping watch over the detainees.
Today, both are stateside, living productive civilian lives, having served 10 and 8 years, respectively. In body, they are whole. In their hearts and minds, demons reside, I am sure...but they are living good lives, strong and independent, and for that I am eternally grateful.