Friday, November 17, 2006
The faces of war and peace
When you deal with war coverage as part of your job, it can be easy to get lost in the numbers. How many died today, how many were wounded? What you "see" in the videos are just "the troops," mostly nameless men and women in various uniforms. You are vaguely aware that each and every one of them is putting themselves into harm's way on a routine basis, but you keep yourself just a bit detached so you're not overwhelmed by the sheer dreadfulness of it all.

I was forced to get a little closer to these brave souls in order to put together our photo gallery honoring veterans. The photos sent to Exchange literally put a face on war, and the sacrifices our troops must make even in times of peace. As I talked to the proud friends and family of these "troops," they became individuals. I was moved and inspired by their stories and was proud to take part in CNN's salute to them.

The highlight was when one of the soldiers, Spc. Steven Stewart, called me. From Iraq!!! He filled me in on a photo his wife sent in featuring him and a buddy. It was, by necessity, a short call, but I was quite thrilled by it.
It must be very sobering to put a face and a name on the troops serving in Iraq. Without an identity we can keep from really thinking about what they're going through but once we see them as everyday men and women with families and loved ones we are suddenly faced with the horrors of the realities of this senseless war.
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