Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Iraq War deaths: The story behind one Christmas Day tragedy

I was watching The News Hour the other night on PBS, and at the end of the program, they ran the names and photos of soldiers recently killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. With the images displayed in silence, it was a profound moment. And it was exactly the kind of "in your face" reporting we need about these military conflicts.

I was a child during the Vietnam War, but I remember the images of battle on our little black and white t.v. I remember my mother worrying that maybe my brothers and I shouldn't be watching this level of violence. That was on the evening news. Who is reporting on the violence facing our our soldiers today? No one! When you turn on the evening news today, you will see soundbites of the presidential candidates, possibly with one of them strolling through a market in Baghdad -- escorted by the military, of course. Or you will see images of politicians -- U.S. and Iraqi -- sitting in big chairs talking. That's the face of war?

Please don't forget the realities of the Bush Administration's war. The family and friends of this young man never will.

Sgt. Bryan J. Tutten

From the U.S. Department of Defense:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sgt. Bryan J. Tutten, 33, of St. Augustine, Fla., died Dec. 25 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his position during combat operations. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

From the Daily Kos:
Bryan Tutten was the only child of Sylvia Smallwood of St. Johns and the late Thomas Robert Tutten of Vilano Beach, the Florida Times-Union reports. He grew up in his native St. Augustine, went to St. Augustine High School, and attended St. Johns River Community College. He married his high school sweetheart and had worked at various occupations, including restaurant chef and landscaper before joining the army when he was 27. And he was an avid sportsman who loved to fish and cook.

The Tutten family suffered another loss in 2001, when Tutten's father, a popular artist and musician in St. Augustine, drowned while trying to retrieve a raft for some children he had rescued from the surf when they were playing on the beach, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Bryan Tutten leaves behind his wife of 10 years, Constandina Peterson Tutten; his daughter, Catherine, who was born during his first tour of Iraq and will be four years old tomorrow, on New Year’s Eve; and his son, Gareth, who will be one year old in May. Tutten is also survived by his grandmother Jeannette McSwain of Conyers, Georgia, and members of the Peterson family.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is horrible.