It has been about not quite 6 months since I've gotten back from Iraq, and once again I have to say that I've been fairly lucky not to have any body parts missing, or dead. I did witness quite a few close calls and one of which ended up with the death of a very young soldier, unfortunately. His name was Bradli Coleman, and I couldn't say that I knew him in life, but I wonder if he has any ideas how he's influencing me in death.
I don't know why I've chosen to write about him and the event of his demise about almost one year (will be in May) after it had happened, but I've never stopped thinking about what had happed that day....especially when I could not goto sleep. I'd also think about my friend Hakim, one of the native translators who had gotten murdered shortly after our group had left. Sometimes, I'd see Bradli laying there, covered in blood after they took him out of his burning trailer, his trailer was mortared that afternoon while he was sleeping, since he had worked the night shift, he had on this army brown tee shirt and army PT shorts, and he was just lifeless while medic tried like heck to revive him. Not exactly the way that I'd like to remember someone, I'm not sure if anyone would like to be remembered like that either.
Yet, it's not always that sad. I don't know if having watched him die had conveyed also a different message to those who where there also. You see, Bradli was only 19 and barely got started in his adult life, and I'm 32, also kind of barely lived. Oh sure I've been to many places, and met a lot of people, but I can't say that I've done that much or have been intimate with many people, and I'm not talking about sex. His death reminds that, for God's sake, start living and do it like you mean it, because for whatever reasons, guys like Bradli won't get to do it.
It's like that scene in "Saving Private Ryan", when Tom Hank's character was dying, he told Private Ryan to "live a good life", in some ways, Bradli has been telling me that, and I hope that, somehow, he knows how much I appreciate him for that.