Captain Jason

The latest news on the recover of Jason after his injury in Iraq by an IED.


Snail Mail:

Cpt. Jason Scott
WRAMC Building 20
Mologne House Hotel #316
6900 Georgia Ave. NW
Washington DC 20307

Phone: 202 577 0092

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day: Katy

I was up very early as Karen had told me the memorial for Lt Ken would take place at 10 AM. One of the RN's who lives in Silver Spring and who also was Jason's nurse on Ward 57 would also attend the service. We could not connect so I took the Metro down. I was glad that I missed Micalah as she got caught in the huge morning traffic jam in Arlington Cemetery and did not arrive for the service till it after it was finished. The day was forecasted to be in the 90's and with clear blue skies the temperature quickly climbed. As I walked from the visitors' center through the cemetery, I was overcome with grief for the suffering of the soldiers as they died and for their families and friends who remember. Many persons were walking through the cemetery and Marines in dress uniforms were the "traffic police" for the day.

About 20 of us gathered at the gravesite with many, many folks visiting graves near us. Some sat on the ground and cried, some hugged each other and left mementos, pictures, flowers. Many children were visiting with adults. This is the second anniversary of gathering for Karen and her family at Arlington "Where better place to be than with Ken?" Today the gathering was being filmed for a documentary by a group from CA. Ken died in Baghdad May 30, 2004. Karen said about 150 soldier casualties of Iraq and Afghanistan are buried at Arlington with the rest buried elsewhere closer to family. Some tombstones are larger because they commemorate those who died together in the same combat/event; names and rank and medals, date and incident listed "Helicopter crash-Texas." Alex's grave is close to Ken's but at the end of a row opposite where we stood under huge trees. We would stand under the trees for a break from the sun.

Karen is from a family of 8 and all but two were able to be in attendance at the memorial. It was good to experience the strong support Karen receives from her family. I believe three of the sisters, including Karen, live with in about 1/2 hour of each other in CA. The others are the "East Coast" contingent of the family.

Karen stood at Ken's tombstone and called us to join her as "we remember and celebrate Ken's life." Major O'Brien from Army casualty Affairs was in attendance and sang over the gravesite a song to the "lost warrior." It was to the melody of a popular Christian hymn and he said that it is an Army tradition that the song be sung "over a soldier's grave." It was very moving and we all stood quietly as our hearts held Karen and Ken. Karen invited us to share remembrances and I spoke on behalf of Jason who attended training with Ken. Next champagne was poured and we began a round of toasts, for Ken and his family, for all soldiers, for those buried at Arlington, and for peacemakers in the military and outside of it. We offered a libation for Ken and poured our remaining champagne over his grave. I believe it was Karen who said, "Ken would have preferred beer." His family members smiled and heartily agreed. (I thought next year it should be beer) We all gathered around the tombstone and took a photo so that Karen might be able to remember who gathered with her at Ken's graveside in 2006 in the years to come. Karen released a star covered balloon "releasing Ken" His balloon got stuck in the tree, Karen tried again and again the balloon caught in the tree above. I will leave to you the meaning.

Ken's family spent some time catching up with each other in the shade of the trees. I took a refilled glass of champagne and told Karen I was going to visit Alex's grave at the opposite side of Plot 60. Another grave had been added next to Alex's in the few days since Tuesday. Alex's grave was still covered with the flowers from his funeral and a poem that must have been from his wife as it spoke of a "kiss and romance." The words and her longing touched my heart and my eyes filled with tears for her loss. I poured the champagne over Alex's grave and asked a blessing of healing, comfort and peace for his family.

I prayed that like Ken's family, healing will come amidst the pain and loss in time and in Alex's family's members' unique way as they journey in life. May his family find meaningful ways to gather and to celebrate the life and relationships and contributions of Alex. And for both families from great suffering may they choose to reach out to others in compassion and to be compassion. "For God is the human person fully alive" and Compassion is the deepest creative act defining us as human. Those who have suffered much have the greatest ability and potential to "experience with" the suffering of others. It is a choice, an act of free will, our response to loss and suffering. If accepted and experienced fully, this dying to the past, will like the "three days in the tomb" lead to resurrection; a life changed and much richer in blessings for self and others. We have no control over the losses in our lives; the loss of our sons to war; we always have the ability to choose our lived response and the meaning of these losses for our lives.

The family members had planned to spend the day together and leave DC on Tuesday. I spent the lunchtime after at "Red, Hot and Blues" enjoying listening to family stories and the antics of all the nieces and nephews. Karen who sat at our table enjoyed playing with the toddler daughter of Major O'Brien. Micalah still has recorded messages from Ken on her cell phone and she played those for Karen who heard his voice for the first time in two years. Micalah is going to save the messages somehow so that Karen may have them. Micalah had met Ken when she was attending training as a cadet and they had been dating for two years at the time of his death.

Micalah and Ken's family pointed me to the Metro at Rosslyn station and I headed North to Walter Reed. Shortly after I arrived, the cell rang, "Mom where are you? I am on the Metro headed to WR. Want to meet in Silver Spring for dinner?" Sure Jason so I drove to Silver Spring and we ate at the Asian-Japanese restaurant. Later I washed clothes and it was lights out at 11 and looking forward of a week to pack and ship and do what needs to be done for Jason's upcoming leave and my return to Chicago.


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