Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Home and Away: Remembering the fallen in Iraq


As the U.S. combat mission in Iraq has come to an end, friends and family members are faced with the memories of thousands of troops who have died in the war. We've received dozens of tributes from iReporters who are keeping their loved ones' memories alive through CNN's Home and Away project. Parents, siblings, friends and neighbors have all submitted memories of the fallen. And although they're all different, each and every tribute is extremely personal and touching.


Stacy Martinez shared a tribute to her fallen fiancé, 2nd Lt. Jeffrey Carl Graham, who died in Iraq on February 19, 2004. "Jeffrey had the most infectious smile and most positive attitude about everything," she said. "His personality was so addicting and everyone always wanted to follow everything that he did."


When remembering his fallen comrade, Spc. Chad Hayden Drake, Michael Grady maintained a sense of humor. He remembers the time that Chad got pelted in the mouth by a paintball during a training exercise. "I'm laughing about it right now, because Chad's lips looked like a platypus," he wrote in an email to CNN.


And Francis Marshall honored her son, Sgt. Bradley Wayne Marshall, who left behind two sons and a wife. "I want Brad to be remembered for his generosity with his time in helping others and being a good friend to many," she said.


We also heard from iReporters who didn't personally know the fallen troops, but felt compelled nonetheless to share their condolences. One such tribute from aaronwedel was short, yet powerful:


"I didn't know you personally but you are from my hometown and you made the ultimate sacrifice. I am proud of you and God bless you and your family."


Being part of the Home and Away initiative has been a humbling and poignant experience. It's our dream that, someday, we'll receive tributes for all of the troops across the world who have died while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every one of these brave men and women deserve to be remembered.


If you lost a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan, or know someone who has, please submit your tributes through the Home and Away page. Click on the Afghanistan or Iraq tabs and search for your loved one's name. From there, you can submit your photos, videos and memories. We look forward to adding your tribute to this very special project.

September 1, 2010
Click to view MarcoBolivar's profile

The Americans, beginning 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, killed wantonly, tortured ... the people of that unhappy land have lost everything — their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women's rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives ... More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile ... The air, soil, water, blood and genes drenched with depleted uranium ... the most awful birth defects ... unexploded cluster bombs lie in wait for children to pick them up ... an army of young Islamic men went to Iraq to fight the American invaders; they left the country more militant, hardened by war, to spread across the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia ... a river of blood runs alongside the Euphrates and Tigris ... through a country that may never be put back together again.

September 1, 2010
Click to view tcaros's profile

Bush and Cheney should be on trial for war crimes.


Obama and Holder must be too scared to go after the truth.


Any foreign country should arrest Bush and Cheney if they step foot overseas. Most Americans would support a war tribunal with Bush and Cheney- we would support a conviction.

September 1, 2010
Click to view SEdweller's profile

@ MarcoBolivar

You obviously have not been to Iraq or have taken the time to try and even Attempt to get you facts correct. Do all of us a favor who has had to go there and deal with the reality of war and get your facts straight and not have such a hug-a-thug mentality

September 1, 2010
Click to view HarryBolzack's profile

Why such bitterness at others' opinions?  Your service is so much more important than others'?  You serve but don't understand that the Constitution you swore to defend includes another's right to an opinion?  Everyone should be quiet because you served and no one else did?  Very arrogant.  Think less of yourself.  Deal with life.  No one asked you to give anything.

September 1, 2010
Click to view girltiger2's profile

@HarryBolzak: This was supposed to be a page to remember the fallen. Standard that someone like you would spew this crap here. To paraphrase, "We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. We have neither the time nor the inclination to explain ourselves to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom we provide, then questions the manner in which we provide it! We'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, we suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, we don't give a damn what you think." Oh, won't stand a post. You'd rather cower in the rear with the gear and scoff at those who do. Go back to assembling Big Macs and spare us your ignorant BS.

September 1, 2010
Click to view TMavenger's profile

Harry: It may come as a surprise to you that those who have the guts to fight for their country are also entitled to express their opinion. You do not have to hate America to be protected by the 1st Amendment.


As for Marco and Caros: I recognize your palpable disappointment at American Victory, but if you can't show gratitude to those who have saved your skin from an enemy who would cut off your heads if you weren't protected constantly by those you dishonor, at least have the decency to post your hatred elsewhere and let us grieve for our dead.

September 1, 2010
Click to view Daveinla's profile

Liberals don't get it. What low class to complain about the reasons for going to war on a page dedicated to the fallen. These men did not die for politics, they died for their brother fighting next to them!

September 1, 2010
Click to view bhattach43's profile

What happened to the loved ones of the Iraqis whose land was invaded under blatantly false pretenses, whose oil wealth continues to be looted and plundered by US companies and their cronies, whose lives were destroyed several orders of magnitude worse than anything faced by the US soldiers? Does anybody care that US committed genocide in Iraq for decades under one pretext or another, caused deaths of millions through war, blockades, sanctions, and every conceivable means of dehumanizing an entire population? I guess not. We only care about the loved ones that are related to the US military. The Iraqis are like street dogs, aren't they? Who cares if they suffered and died?


This blog represents racism at its ugliest, pure and simple.

September 1, 2010
Click to view kennynrt's profile

I hate it when idiots ranting about peace get on these sites that are about remembering the fallen.  Let me tell you something Marco, all of those atrocities that you claim the Americans have done would certainly happen to us if we did not have the military we have protecting us.  Most of those that were killed would like nothing better than to cut off your head with a dull butter knife and video tape it for your mother.  Sure, some innocent lives were lost but that is the way war is.  War is also not a human thing...nearly every species on the planet engages in warfare of some sort.  We did overthrow the government in Iraq.  However, it was one of the most brutal regimes in the world.  Americans and their allies have provided rights, freedom and security many generations in Iraq have never seen.  We are also providing money to rebuild their nation.  So quit your self-richeous preaching and give some respect to those who have died protecting your right to whine.  I am proud to have served in the first gulf war and I am proud of those who are serving now, and especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.  Rest in peace my brothers and sisters.

September 1, 2010
Click to view usnavy1992's profile

I want to pay a tribute to a solider that I never knew his first name. I did not know his rank or race. I flew missions in Iraq from March 09 Dec 09. I flew as a door gunner in a UH-60 Black Hawk. I was with the ACO 137th avn out of Columbus Ohio. We got a call for a Hero mission in April 09 a couple days after easter. A Hero mission is where u pick up dead Americans from the CASH and take him or her to a place where they send them home.

I was on this mission and I was on the aircraft where we carried the body of a dead American solider. We loaded this solider on board and flew him to Baghdad Airport where he was taken to a staging point, then Home. After the mission I could not help to think about that flight. How one min you can be on this Earth, then taken away in a flash. I could not help to think that at that moment back home there was a familey that was sad and crying. out of all my flights in Iraq that will be the one I will never forget till the day that I die. Once back home

people see me in uniform and they say thank you. I feel i dont desevre it, the thanks goes to that American solider and his familey and all the KIA in Iraq And Afg and there familes.

To you my brother in arms I thank you. May god have you as one of his angels to protect good and destroy evil.

Good Bless you and your familey.

September 1, 2010
Click to view girltiger2's profile

@bhattach43...apparently you're not familiar with the old phrase, "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." Of course we must be racists...that's why we never lifted a finger to help the Asian communities affected by the tsunami, or the Pakistani people affected by the flooding, or the Peruvian people affected by the mudslides, or the Hatian people affected by the earthquake. And we couldn't possibly be providing millions of dollars in AIDS drugs to Africa, because again with the race thing. They're all "not white" so obviously, we ...oh wait, that's right. We, led by our military are usually among the first ones on the ground to help. And if you look at the pictures of the fallen, they come from every race, creed, and color and they fought for the weak and they fought for each other despite their differences. And yet after things like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, we got the old, "sucks to be you" from most of the rest of the world. And when the next cartoon dictator rears his ugly head, who's gonna get the bat signal? Right, us again. Everyone's so quick to slam America until they get into trouble and then they can't ask us for our help fast enough.

September 1, 2010
Click to view Courtney1984's profile

People preach about the atrocities they think the US military has committed. What about the atrocities that Saddam and his regime had been inflicting upon those people for decades? The same tyrannical sadist that we removed from power. Who used mustard gas on hundreds of thousands of people? Why no talk of what Iraq is free of because the US stepped in and removed him. I don't know that going in when we did was a smart idea but it makes me ill to see people act like we ruined Iraq. It was already in ruins and we went in and removed Saddam and his regime. Women now have more rights, all the citizens have more rights. Is it perfect? No but things are better than they were under Saddam.


This page is supposed to be about remembering the men and women who helped give those people a new start. Regardless of anything else they made the ultimate sacrifice so that you can sit here and spew misinformation and hate. I believe firsthand accounts of what went on there more than I would ever believe main stream media.


Every one of these marines, soldiers, air men and seamen deserve to be remembered for what they sacrificed, for what their families have sacrificed. We have lost so many lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and for you people to cheapen their sacrifice with rhetoric and flawed information is sickening.


September 1, 2010
Click to view Courtney1984's profile

@girltiger2: I love how people act like the US military does nothing good or doesn't help people. My husband was on the ground in Haiti three days after the earthquake. He was there for two months, then came home and went to Afghanistan. I hate that people do not even research what they are going to say. They have no idea how much good the US military does and in how many different countries we do it in.

September 1, 2010
Click to view Hondro's profile

I say to you as someone who's spent my life around guys that wear green suits to work... if your gonna fling poo at someone... Fling it at those people in Washington that made the decisions for them to go.  As far as you veterans go?.. I love you guys... I"m proud of you and I wish I could buy each one of you a beer and welcome you home the old fashioned way.  And for those of you who hate... remember that it could have just as easily been you, or someone you love that was dragged off to war.  If anyone honestly believe that any single one of these men and women wouldn't have rather been at home being able to drink beer with buddies on the weekend and watch football... go visit a VA hospital and see for yourself.  Don't judge 'em unless you strapped on combat boots and lived in their shoes... 

September 1, 2010
Click to view CJMaloney's profile

May the fallen and their families find some peace.  I can't imagine the depth of their grief at a day's end knowing that a loved one died alone in such an inhospitable place, thousands of miles from home.  I thank the veterans, living and dead, who sacrificed so much in the line of duty.  The dead will remain dead while those who craft history dissect the reasons and justification for war. 

September 1, 2010
Click to view Predeaux's profile

May God Bless those of you who currently serve and May he bless the souls of our falen heroes. My heart bleeds for those who had their land destroyed and their families taken away just as it bleeds for our American soldiers. Those that have blood on their hands know what they did to our American soldiers, their families, and the people of Iraq. Whether it was revenge on Saddam, GREED or blantant deliberate evil....there is only ONE JUDGE...and HE said vengance will be mine.@Courney, US Navy and Bhattach and the rest of you let's take THIS time to honor those who gave their lives for their country and pray for those who still occupy the territory.

September 1, 2010
Click to view JEM1414's profile

God bless the troops and their families. God bless America. God bless this world. God bless Iraq as they try to rebuild.


Let us overcome evil by doing good.

September 1, 2010
Click to view PenguinKing7's profile

Daveinla, it's easy to throw about "liberal" when you probably have no idea what it is. There are many of us "liberals" here in Iraq, including myself. I have fought and friends of mine have died. Stop being an idiot about the politics.

September 1, 2010
Click to view SteveChan's profile

remember those iraqis who fought to defend their country not the carpetbagger contractors and imperialists!

September 1, 2010
Click to view careful12's profile

Hey Marco, The comments you've made are disrespectful as well as ignorant. If you or any of the rest of the dip s*t's that are writing these comments haven't been in or around combat and have no sense of pride for the U.S. Than you have no reason to be voicing your opinions on somthing you can't comprehend. You write like a man with a paper a*hole.

September 2, 2010
Click to view DrEmeritus's profile

Damn war, I chant for world peace!

September 4, 2010
Click to view peto326's profile

i just let the best part of me die, it funny because you don't even get to know that theres something good in you until it's too late and all of those beautiful thoughts just fade to black, they fade away in agony and theres nothing you can do once you swallowed that lonenly pill down your throat, all that you have it's nothing and you used to have so much, now all you want to do it's go back on memories, memories that are nothing more than that,...

September 7, 2010
Click to view cbenish's profile

I understand that you are proud to serve. Your fearlessness and valor are very much appreciated. BUT, it is realistic to understand the REAL truth. And that is George W. Bush and Dick Cheney put our soldiers in harm's way for personal gain. The men and women who died on both sides, died for NOTHING! You were wounded for NOTHING! You lost your legs for NOTHING! We were lied to. It is no secret!!! It has been proven over and over. So get your head out of the sand and get pissed off. And let's stop the bullshit and make it right.

Don't bother bashing me or my words. If you do then you simply don't get it. I'm sorry.


September 8, 2010
Click to view MariaAsh13's profile

Remembering Army Sgt Matt Maupin from Batavia Ohio. POW in 2004, remains found in 2008. We miss you!!

September 21, 2010
Click to view sebastien133's profile

Don't forget it was only a war for petroleum, not for liberty.


It was a very sad war.

September 30, 2010
Click to view amandakulick's profile

my father died when i was 7 years old, from a road side bomb in iraq. I am now 13 years old and I understand completly how this family feels, empty, sad, sometimes even just flat out depressed. Just think back to all those amazing times you had with him, and remember every second with him.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

About the iReport Blog

The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.

Categories Recent posts Monthly Subscribe