Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ryan Baum remembered

AURORA - There is a black ribbon tied around the front tree at the Baum house.

"We are so proud of him, you can't believe it. He was just a great guy," said Richard Baum.

Before U.S. Army Ranger Medic Ryan Baum left for Iraq, he sat with his mother, Dana, on the back patio of the Aurora house he grew up in.

"Pretty much set me up in case this would happen. He asked me to be the strong one and he told me why it was important for him to go," said Dana. "All the men and women there believe they are doing something honorable."

The Baums have a home video from Ryan. He shows them where he is staying and what life is like on duty. At the end he looked into the camera and said, "I love you and miss you and I'll see you really soon."

While he was serving in Iraq he learned that his wife Amber was expecting their first child. They decided to name her Leia.

Baum was killed by a sniper one day before he was supposed to go on leave. He was coming back to the U.S. for Leia's birth.

Amber will have their daughter by C-section on Tuesday morning in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

"He loved babies. He was so looking forward to coming home and holding his baby on his chest and sleeping. It is so sad that he'll never have the opportunity to do that," said Dana.

"He would have been the greatest dad on the planet. There is no doubt about that," said Richard.

Dana says Leia will be "our little piece of Ryan that will become our big piece of Ryan. We wonder if she'll look like he did as a baby."

The Baums say they are frustrated with the politics surrounding this war. They say the country has lost sight of the human element of it – the servicemen and women and their families. They believe the bickering in Washington is getting the country nowhere.

"The politics that are happening in this country over the war has become demoralizing for the troops," said Dana. "On a day like Memorial Day, when most people more concerned about barbecue and keeping the beer cold, they need to really think about those men and women who have volunteered to do this. They chose to leave their families and be away. We need to think about that. This is not just another three-day weekend."

The Baums hope no other family will have to tie a black ribbon of mourning around a tree at their home.

"How many lost sons and daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers will it take? How big do the statistics have to get?" said Dana. "I just hope we can bring the rest of them home soon."

From KUSA 9

Related Link:
Ryan J. Baum dies of 'of wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire'