On Wednesday of this week I took off of work to spend the day with Heather and the boys for the last trip of the summer to the local water park. We got there when it opened and stayed until it was within twenty minutes of closing. At the beginning of our day I remarked to Heather that I’d forgotten to bring my cell phone, and she said she had left hers at home as well.
We had the best of days — letting each of the boys choose in turn which ride they wanted to go to next. Their vitality and courage is amazing to me. At their age I was never as brave as they are. We left the park exhausted and ready for a good dinner.
We drove home to change into dry clothes before dinner to find that both of our cell phones had voice messages waiting and there were over 20 missed called on the home phone callerID — all from Heather’s father. We knew that whatever the news was it was not good news.
Heather’s cousin Corry had died early that morning in Iraq. At once tears flowed and a deep anger welled up inside both of us.
Corry Paul Tyler, 29, an Army captain and 1999 West Point graduate from Woodbine, Georgia, was one of the 14 soldiers killed in the crash of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter near Kirkuk in northern Iraq on Wednesday, August 22, 2007.
In the dark hours before dawn, Corry and three other soldiers from the 4th Squadron, 6th Air Cavalry, Fort Lewis, Washington, picked up ten troops from the 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, after a night mission.
All fourteen aboard perished when the Black Hawk suffered catastrophic mechanical failure and crashed.
Corry was a husband to his loving wife and a father to his three young children. He was the sole remaining male in his family which allowed him to avoid deployment; yet this was his third tour in Iraq.
Corry hoped to go to medical school and become an Army physician. He was to have heard soon if he had been accepted.
Today there are 3723 U.S. deaths in Iraq confirmed by the Department of Defense. Before Wednesday, that ever increasing number was more of an abstraction to me than reality. With the death of Corry, the addition of one integer to that total number, it is no longer an abstraction. It’s an open wound of pain and loss of infinite proportions for every family of every fallen soldier and citizen.
Capt. Corry P. Tyler served his family and country honorably to the end, and he shall be remembered by all those who knew him as one who lived deliberately and deeply.
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