Sunday, May 29, 2011

Children of fallen troops turn to each other

We can list the number of the fallen but then we don't think much about their families. For them, for the spouse and the kids, they end up without someone they love and the lifestyle they have known.

Children of fallen troops turn to each other
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — After Brooke Nyren's dad died in Iraq, she sat alone at recess because her classmates didn't know what to say. One of Alexis Wright's fellow kindergarteners questioned if she was telling the truth about her dad's death in the war, while others told her it was too confusing to understand why she didn't have a father.

More than 4,300 children of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are growing up, forging their own paths while keeping the connection to their mom or dad alive in ways ranging from annual backyard barbeques on the anniversary of the parent's death to keeping a music box of his favorite song.

They've endured awkward conversations with people unsure how to respond when they describe how their parent — typically their father — died in the war and unkind remarks from friends at school. Many of them lost not just a parent but their home, too, because they had to move off a military base. As painful as their memories are, those interviewed at a camp for children of the fallen say the experience has made them more compassionate.

The kids interviewed describe the annual "good grief" camp organized by the nonprofit Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors every Memorial Day weekend as one outlet that's allowed them to learn to work through their feelings, and many attend every year.
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Children of fallen troops turn to each other

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