<\body> Stories in America: Letter From a Dead Soldier's Mom

Friday, July 07, 2006

Letter From a Dead Soldier's Mom

By Summer Lipford
My son, Steven Sirko, died in Iraq April 17, 2005. It has been 1 year, 2 months and 18 days since the last time I saw my son's face. I have not looked into his sky blue eyes for 1 year, 5 months and 18 days, for the last time I saw that beautiful face his eyes were closed, he was dead. I stroked his hair, I kissed his face, I held him as closely as I could, I was one of the lucky parents, his casket was open. Then on the other hand, I have to face reality. I know he is gone. I cannot pretend he is on a secret mission and I have been lied to to keep his "cover" quiet, not like some parents who have the closed casket. "NOT VIEWABLE." They can continue to pretend and tell themselves it really wasn't their child in that metal box.

I still cannot sleep, cannot eat, cannot have peace. I was raised knowing I have a soul. I did not know my own soul. I could not taste it, feel it, touch it or hear it, but nevertheless I was quite sure I had one -- or so I thought. The morning of April 17th, 2005, it was confirmed I did have a soul. I know for sure I had a soul, because after receiving the news that my son was dead my soul left my body. It has never returned.

I had been against the war and this administration from the beginning. When Steven enlisted, his dad and I were angry with him. His dad and I both talked to him long and hard about not going into the military, not because it was not honorable to enlist but because this administration was not honorable and had already invaded Iraq. Steven, being 18 years old, had been "taken in" by a recruiter and told "This Iraq thing will be over before your out of AIT."

We knew better.


At 7/07/2006 7:40 PM, Blogger GI Kate said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I spent a year in Iraq also. Whenever I read about a Soldier passing away, or seeing it on tv, or seeing it first hand, all I can think is that is one of my brothers or sisters that had their life taken away too soon. It breaks my heart. It makes me want to go back over there.

The Soldiers I was deployed with and I always told eachother that if something happend to tell our family that we died with pride and for the Soldier standing next to us. We might not all believe in the war but we stood by eachother...and thats all that mattered to us.

You should read, "My War: Killing Time in Iraq" by Colby Buzzell.

At 7/07/2006 8:03 PM, Anonymous patriot said...

Kate, tell us more about your experience. There's nothing like hearing from a soldier directly. Have you seend the War Tapes? I'd love to hear more. Thanks.

At 7/07/2006 8:29 PM, Blogger GI Kate said...

I'm actually looking at the War Tapes site right now. I haven't seen it yet... I honestly can't wait though! Maybe it'll make me feel at home. haha.

I've actually written a little about my time over there. I created a blog for it...although I'm kind of nervous to put myself out there like that. check out the blog i have now...there are a few picture up from Iraq.

At 7/07/2006 8:34 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

Thanks for your service Gil Kate. We could use more like you.

At 7/07/2006 8:43 PM, Blogger GI Kate said...


Its been a pleasure.

At 7/07/2006 8:45 PM, Anonymous patriot said...

privacy. I totally understand. Let us know what you think of the War Tapes. I loved it. I'm against the war and I can honestly say that I was surprised that I had no bad feelings towards the guys in the film who supported the war. It made me realize how divided the media has made us.
Left vs. right. It's not that simple. It was amazing to hear about the war from a soldier's perspective. I'm glad you're home safe and from the looks of your site, you're having fun.
I hope everyone returns home safe and is treated with respect. And I hope the Bush admin (the top guys have never served, so they have no idea what soldiers need) provides them with the healthcare and support they deserve, not talking points and rhetoric.

At 7/07/2006 8:58 PM, Blogger GI Kate said...

Before I left for Iraq I didn't really understand what we were doing there...but after being there I wanted the Iraqis to be "free" and have peace. It amazes me that Saddam wasn't taken out of power years ago for the crimes he committed against his own people. I believe the U.N. (ha) should've done something then. When I listen to the words coming out of President Bush's mouth all I can hear is bullshit. I guess what I'm trying to say is that...I'm glad Saddam is out of power but it shouldn't of happend the way it did. And now 2,500 Soldiers have lost their lives.
It's confusing when you see things with your own eyes...you hear what the government is saying, you see Iraqis that are beyond excited we are there, you see insurgents that are trying to take your life, you see kids who may or may not have a future now, you see pain and murder committed by people that claim to believe in the same religion but that go about things in very different ways. Needless to say, war is not black and white.

Patriot...who are you? haha and whats your site all about?

At 7/07/2006 9:15 PM, Blogger storiesinamerica said...

Hi Kate,

Thanks for sharing your opinions.

You are so young! I'm always so shocked when I read about 19-early 20 somethings who are fighting the war.

When did you serve? Is there a chance you will be sent back?

I agree with patriot. The War Tapes was an incredible documentary. It was effective because it was filmed by soldiers with different views. The filmmakers left out their opinions, which was the right decision. The mainstream American media has done such a poor job of covering this war; unfortunately, it's too dangerous for most reporters to leave the Green Zone or the be "unembedded."

I have to take off, but I'd love to chat more and hear about your experience! Thanks again for posting and we're all glad you're home safe.

At 7/07/2006 9:25 PM, Blogger storiesinamerica said...

Here's info on the book Kate suggested:


My War is a book that will challenge many of the most common assumptions about the Iraq War and the people fighting in it. Colby Buzzell, the book's author and a U.S. Army machine-gunner who did a year-long tour in Iraq, is not the stereotypical small-town soldier from a Red State. He grew up in San Francisco eating pot brownies at the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair, skateboarding, and listening to punk and heavy metal. He supported Ralph Nader for president, reads George Orwell, and his dad worked in Silicon Valley. But he was sick of his "life in oblivion," bouncing around from one dead-end job to another. As Buzzell writes in his typically gritty prose, "I didn’t want to get all old and have my bratty grandkids ask me, 'Grandpa, where were you during the Iraq war?' and me going, 'Oh, I was busy doing temp work and data entry for 12 bucks an hour.'"
In search of adventure, Buzzell joined the army and got sent to Iraq. First stationed in the ultra-dangerous Sunni Triangle, he quickly mastered how to use the M240 Bravo machine gun: "Just get behind that muthafucka and just fire it." His fellow soldiers, mostly hip-hop fans or headbanging metal-heads like him, killed time watching porn on mini-portable DVD players or listening to Metallica on their iPods while on patrol. Long boring spells were interrupted by wild fits of confusing action. On one of Buzzell's first missions, two platoons fired thousands of rounds at near point-blank range at an unarmed Iraqi civilian. Amazingly, he survived. Out of boredom, Buzzell started a blog, one of the first by an ordinary "Joe" grunt in Iraq. It became a media sensation and got Buzzell in trouble with the REMFs ("Rear Echelon Mutha Fuckers") because of his less-than-glamorous portrayal of the war and his superiors, whom he accuses of constantly lying to the public and the soldiers under their command. My War may be disappointing to readers looking for deeper introspections on the moral questions behind the war, but it is a pretty convincing case against the claim that everything in Iraq is going fine. --Alex Roslin


At 7/08/2006 7:38 PM, Blogger GI Kate said...

I would love to chat more!

I was in OIF III (Nov. 04 to Oct. 05.) I was at Camp Anaconda. I'm in the Reserves until 2009...so I'll probably have to go atleast one more time. Im thinking about switching over to the Air Force and going active duty with them for two years and just getting it over with. Im not sure yet.

Have you read that book? Its pretty amazing.

Talk to you soon!

At 7/09/2006 8:45 AM, Anonymous timmy said...

By the way, awesome tat gi kate.

At 7/09/2006 9:16 PM, Blogger GI Kate said...


Thanks! Can you guess what it represents?!

You guys should write me on my blog too!

At 4/11/2007 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent. Thank you for posting this. I look forward to reading more of your site and will post a link to this on mine.


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