Pictures and text by Matthew Conklin
These pictures were taken in July of 2008.
Here, at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq, there is a small area in one of the headquarters buildings devoted to the men and women of the United States Army who have given their live in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As you will see in the few pictures that I was allowed to take, not only are there several small tribute pieces but a mural and prayer, which I will talk more about.
|In the first picture you can see a US army soldier standing with his head bowed, hands held together, next to a standing Iraqi soldier who has his head bowed as well.|
|The second slide depicts a drawing of a knelt soldier who looks overcome with emotion, next to a pair of combat boots, an M16 with helmet and dog tags, awards, badges and unit coins. The boots and rifle display is a common one for funerals and ceremonies recognizing fallen service members. The unit coins represent the different units that the soldiers were from. The awards and badges are there to recognize their accomplishments.|
|The next picture shows to TV monitors that display a constant slideshow describing each soldier that has lost their life in this division. It gives a brief look at them by showing their picture, name, where they are from, what unit they were in, and how they gave their life..|
|In the fourth picture you can see a plaque that was made to mount the dog tags of the fallen soldiers of this division. Like the full chain and tags that were draped on the rifle in the second picture, these tags show other soldiers that same piece of metal that they wear around their neck, but these belong to those who do not wear them anymore..|
|The last picture is a small, framed prayer that I noticed on the wall. It is a prayer that is specific for this division. Even for those who aren't religious it is an inspiration and is designed to uplift the reader and unite the soldiers of the unit. It shows that some knelt soldier that is on the wall and is used to inspire camaraderie and build cohesion among the soldiers..|