Anonymous asked in Family & RelationshipsFamily · 1 year ago

15 years ago this month my eldest son died in Iraq.. sometimes I think if we talked him out of joining he would be here. What do u think?

15 years ago this month I lost my eldest son in Iraq. My wife and I have 2 other kids..Jay as we would all call him was not at all the kind of guy who you would think someday would go to war. He wasn't a gung ho guy.. he was quite and shy but he had a good sense of humor. Most important he would help his friends or even folks he didn't know very well...I remember one day in 8th grade there was a girl who would sistematically get bullied..Despite being one of the little kids Jay stood up to that bully and not without a few punches being thrown and a call to the principal's office the bullying stopped. He didn't get punished for that. He really was a good guy. Sometimes I go downstairs and I see him in high school with his hair when it was not yet Marine style. I see him playing with his friends,laughing.. I see us on family vacations. 2003 was our last family vacation. Little we knew a year and a half later he would return stateside in a flag drapped casket. I cannot help but think if my wife and I tried talking him out of joining he would be here..especially because he made it clear he still wanted to go to college and become a doctor. We all go on but I'll always wonder what might have been had we tried harder talking him out of joining.. what do you think?


I must add that once he became a Marine he took pride in it.. Still hard to imagine my little buddy in his Marine dress uniform picture,so serious..still hard to believe he's gone. I really hope there is a heaven,I really do..

27 Answers

  • 1 year ago
    Favorite Answer

    Dear Marine's Dad: First of all thank you for raising a son who would take on this duty and make such a sacrifice.   I talked one young man out of going because all he wanted was the education paid for, and I told him no, you need to go because you believe in service, or else you will resent it.  For you, it could go either way: For every parent who talked their children out of going into combat, there are those like you whose sons went anyway. I believe everything happens for a reason, and we all end up going through the experiences in life we need to grow spiritually and create a complete picture.  It's natural to question the "what if's" but in the end, we usually come to the understanding that the greater purpose outweighs the losses it took to get there. I'm sorry you lost your son, and can't imagine how it feels not to have him in your life.  If you have any kind of memorial scholarship or fund in your son's name, I would love to see him honored by people investing in medical internships, especially for VA reform, or the cooperative reforms started by father-son Veterans in Houston to make medical care affordable and accessible to all people. For all the parents who are left asking the same questions, if we work together, we can find even better answers and better ways in the future so one day, no more families have to face these kind of sacrifices. God bless you and your family for the service and sacrifices made, and may the love of your son and his love of duty and country be multiplied to build a better future of saving lives through sustainable means that will end the suffering of war.

  • Anonymous
    1 year ago


    When I was '18' in-spite of my parents & WW-2 Vet Uncles begging me not to, I enlisted & served two combat tours in Vietnam & never regretted it... That is, until my Own son died in Iraq.

    My son was a jerk,, a real loser,, a low 'C' average academically, got in lots of fights & the only thing he was any good-at in school was sports & even at that he was mediocre at best & couldn't get a job that paid more than minimum-wage on his best day,,a chip off the old block...  

    So when he announced his intention to enlist I might have tried to talk him out of it, but considering how much the military did for me starting out & remembering how little difference it made when when own my parents tried I didn't even bother & just wished him well the last time I saw him & simply told him "Don't Die there, the cemeteries are full of dead heroes & no matter what the patriotic songs say it's just not worth it" ,, and as I recall I think I was even a little proud & envious that he actually outranked me by the time he deployed. 

    So,,maybe if I'd just listened to my parents & done something different when I was 18 my son would've done something different too,, maybe not,,, I'm tortured by that question daily & probably always will-be.But for what it's worth, though it's understandably little consolation,,there IS a Heaven and our Sons are there.

  • Layne
    Lv 5
    1 year ago

     You did an excellent job raising him, and I am sure he was proud of you and perhaps somewhere he is so happy with you. Thank you for your and his excellent work.

  • 1 year ago

    We can never know what might have happened if we had done or not done something different.

    Suppose you had talked your son out of going, and then the very next month he'd been killed by a bus when crossing the street? You would be beating yourself up about it and saying 'Oh if only we had let him go to Iraq' ...

     I'm sorry you lost your son. It must be unbearable sometimes. But he was an adult, and he made his own decision, as we all eventually have to do.

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  • 1 year ago

    This is not your fault. Your son had pride and dignity. He sounds like he was a great young person who fought for what he believed in. Simply cherish the past great memories.

  • Anonymous
    1 year ago

    I am sorry for your loss.  Your son, even when young, demonstrated great maturity and sense of what is right.  Be proud in his accomplishments.  Do not dwell on what could have been, but celebrate what was.  You obviously served him well as parents.  You may benefit from grief counseling.

  • Anonymous
    1 year ago

    You are in pain.  You are dealing with grief.  Your son sounds like he was a wonderful person with a beautiful soul.  Do not blame yourself for his death.  Our children choose their own path in life.  We can't stop them from doing what they want to do or need to do.  The pain of losing our loved one(s) causes us to hurt so deeply and to question ourself "why didn't I do more".  You will always love your son; you will always shed tears; you will always remember him.  You should.  Your own life has changed and you will live with that I have.  Just when you think you can't take it any longer; things change.  We begin to live life - differently but we go on.  God Bless you and your family and God Bless your son.  We never know when we will leave this earth....and you did not have any power to lengthen his life sir.  So please don't blame yourself.

  • 1 year ago

    This all this thinking is a waste of time. Can't change the past, just a waste of time thinking this way.

  • 1 year ago

    First of all I'm sorry and I'll keep you and family in prayer. Your pondering this doesn't make it easier because you want to blame yourself when there is no blame. Please don't feel guilty. He made the decision to join and even though it's possible you may have somehow miraculously been able to convince him he could have walked into the wrong store, taken a turn down the wrong street or perished some other way. He was still a hero to you and the rest of us and that's what matters. 

    May you find comfort soon. 

    Source(s): US Navy Veteran 27 yrs.
  • Pearl
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    i dont think that wouldve worked, he probably wouldve joined anyways

  • 1 year ago

    Clearly if you could have convinced him not to join, the odds are that he would still be alive. But you couldn't have known that then. 

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