There’s this big chunk of a bomb shell on my counter.
I hate it.
It is part of an IED.
What is an IED? An improvised explosive device is a bomb that is constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action.
Ther decices can be constructed in many ways, attached to a detonator, part of a roadside bomb, and heavily used in the second Iraq War.
Sam was blown up several times.
Everyone keeps a memento, has a keepsake, a memory box, right? Usually it’s a small item kept in memory of someone, but this thing is different.
Sam keeps this as a reminder. The first time I saw it I immediately teared up and wondered “why is this so important?”
It’s a reminder that he is alive.
IED’s are used to attack. They are designed to destroy. The piece of the IED that hit Sam is part of a 155 mm bomb shell. There were three total strapped together that blew up.
Can you picture that? Can you imagine that? Because it is really hard for me, knowing what the damage was and how it changed Sam, it is hard to picture or think about.
And he was hit multiple times in three various deployments by them.
During his first deployment, with a new unit, he was hit by two IED’s in the process of saving lives out of his convoy.
Another deployment that involved running long missions all over Iraq resulted in another IED. This one went off under the front of his truck.
As a convoy commander, Sam had great responsibility. And then the devil of an IED struck. Blood streamed from his ears, and his team was split due to this. Another IED hit, and more mental anguish occurred.
Due to the nature of the IED blasts, Sam has traumatic brain injury. Long ago, this was “shell shock,” a mysterious condition that often included headaches, inability to concentrate, depression, and behavior changes.
Sam’s memory is not what it once was (thanks to IED blasts and that piece of one that is in our home). He has trouble concentrating. He struggles at times with homework, which can be a challenge in grad school. He may forget day to day things like grabbing his phone, taking out trash, or his schedule for the day.
His body is uncooperative at times due to being blown up various times during deployments. His back was seriously injured. He had to learn to walk again, he used a cane, and he went through extensive therapy for that particular injury while being in rehab for injuries at Fort Knox, and he also visited the Iowa Spine Clinic.
Some days the pain is so much, it is hard to walk and he uses his cane. He moves a little slower than some men his age, but his body has aged due to the nature of war.
So while I hate this large, heavy, piece of a bomb that could have taken the life of my husband, I appreciate the significance, the reminder that despite three of those being tied together, my husband is alive. He’s here. The IED did not win.