War Memorial: The Writing Is On The Wall
(May 27, 2011)
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq (5/18/2011) -- The writing on the walls was clear
for all to see...Rest in peace to the fallen.|
Messages were left
by service members who had lost friends, as a way to commemorate their
memory. Those who were wounded left their mark to thank medical staff
members. Dotted throughout the room also were comments from
May 14, 2011 - Service members left their
marks on the walls of the contingency airlift staging facility.
Since the troop surge in 2007, wounded warriors and top military
officials have been writing messages as a way to commemorate their
fallen comrades. Words of thanks were also left for the JBB hospital
With U.S. forces committed to its transition out of Iraq by year's
end, a small group effort is underway to preserve historical
artifacts from JBB. This includes the contingency aeromedical
staging facility "memorial" walls.
According to Dr. Charles
Dusch, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing historian, it was around the
time of the troop surge in Iraq (2007) that the memorial wall was
created. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and allied nation
soldiers who were waiting to be transported to higher level of care
began writing on the walls. Many of them left memorials and tributes
to comrades who've
fallen and over time the numbers grew.
"You start to see messages from very important people like Air Force
Secretary Michael Donnelly, Army Generals David Petraeus and Raymond
Odierno, football coaches and cheerleaders traveling with the United
Service Organization," the historian, who is deployed from the Air Force
Academy, said. |
Dusch, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel,
noted that other historians like Dan Sherman said memorials do things
for us collectively as a people and for the veterans.
transform emotions from grief to honor and a sense of accomplishment,"
Dusch, a native of Warwood, W.Va., said there are not
many memorials in the world like the CASF walls. Traditionally a war
memorial is put up by someone after the fact, to remember whomever.
"The CASF walls was created by people who actually fought, were
wounded and they had the opportunity to speak and honor one another," he
said. "It's become a memorial to Operation Iraqi Freedom and it could be
argued quite possible to the surge."
The messages are individual
expressions. Some are very bold, while others are timid and more
reserved. Several are written smaller and more difficult to read, while
a couple are larger artwork that stands out.
"It reflects the
expression that those individuals at that moment in history ... what was
in their hearts and foremost in their minds at that time, and we have
that captured here at the Air Force Theater Hospital at JBB," Dusch
Article and photo by Sr. Airman Tong Duong
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing
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