Today, I came across a photo essay titled, "The Things They Take to War." Although the items weren't a big surprise; most of them were little slices of home, lucky charms and things which had great personal meaning, I found the essay surprisingly powerful. Here's a sample of the 'what and why' from a couple of the soldiers profiled:
SGT. JEREMIAH J. RUTLEDGERead the rest, and see the photos here.
RUTLEDGE has shared all of his deployments in the company of a moose.
Back in 2005, Rutledge was getting ready for his first deployment. This required an explanation to his then- 10-year-old daughter.
"I was explaining to her that I was going to Iraq, it was far from home-and far from her," said Rutledge.
She immediately went to her room and came back with a plush moose. She asked her daddy to take Mike the Moose so he would always have a part of home with him.
Mike is currently on his third deployment, this time to Kandahar, Afghanistan.
"He and I are present at all webcam chats with the Family," said Rutledge. "We are both still in one piece. Great work, Mike!"
SGT. 1ST CLASS JAMES RIVERA:
NOT unlike any Soldier about to deploy, the first item I packed for deployment was my lucky-charm item.
It's a blown-up picture of me and my wife embedded onto a quilt that we took one day while we were in Sears, in a mall in Clarksville, Tenn., after we saw an example in the photo department.
The first thing I did upon getting my living quarters was to hang my quilt on the wall. It is always a topic of conversation among the people who see it. I have not seen another Soldier with such an item.
It's like having my soul mate there with me in my room. My wife loves the idea because for her it's like she's checking on me, making sure I always behave. It serves as my lucky charm as well.
I found myself thinking about what my husband took to war with him. I sent him many things while he was in Afghanistan, but when I saw him off, he had a laminated photo of the two of us, a laminated photo of our cocker spaniel and a guardian angel tucked in his wallet. He still carries these items even though the laminate has begun to fray and fade, and our beloved four-legged son is no longer with us.
What has your spouse taken to war, and what was the significance behind it?