On my wall I keep a framed photo of Army Specialist Jon Town. He is out of uniform, wearing a gray suit and crimson tie, yet he is standing at attention, a look of determination in his eyes. The photo was taken in the halls of the U.S. Capitol on July 25, 2007, the day Town and I testified before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
It was raining. People are often surprised to hear that it rains in Iraq. When people imagine the daily discomforts of soldiers deployed in Iraq, they think about facing imminent death, frying in the desert sun and the dull monotony of daily routine. Anything but rain. But in northern Iraq in 2005, for roughly three months between mid-December and March, it seemed to rain every other day—not refreshing summer drizzles either, but ice-cold buckets.
Four alumni who’ve seen combat duty in Iraq returned to Amherst in February. Inside a full Cole Assembly Room, they spoke about the war and the military at a panel dedicated to the memory of Josh Gross ’98.
An Invisible WarThe New York Times, May 3 " Paul Rieckhoff looked across the crowded restaurant, which was not far from Times Square. “During World War II,” he said, “we could be in this place and there would be a guy sitting at that table who was in the war, or the bartender had been in the war. Everybody you saw would have had a stake in the war. But right now you could walk around New York for blocks and not find anybody who has been in Iraq.