Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Perspective: Living on Iraq time

Specialist Martin Kondor

EVERY evening at 10, beeps emanate from the top drawer of my dresser. The sound comes from a watch that has resided there for just over three years. The 20 beeps signify that another day is dawning in Iraq. The watch belonged to my son, Specialist Martin Kondor, who was killed in action with the Army on the morning of April 29, 2004, in the city of Baquba, north of Baghdad. Martin was 20 years old.

Since his death, three Memorial Days have come and gone, and while most people think of Memorial Day as just a day off from work, an occasion for a backyard cookout or a chance to score a good deal at a spectacular sale, for families like mine, Memorial Day has a more somber meaning. For us, the day is a further reminder that our loved one is gone forever.

It’s not that we need another reminder. Not a day goes by that we don’t think of Martin. My wife and I each carry one of his dog tags with us at all times. His picture hangs on the living room wall with those of his two brothers, and his bedroom has been left essentially as it was when he was alive. Two of the last packages we sent to him were returned after his death, and they’ve sat unopened in a corner of the room for the last three years.

Read the rest at the NY Times