Tribute/ Lee Tree (Respectful U.S. Citizen ) Dear Mrs. Jones, Words simply cannot express my sorrow at your loss. I truly wish, more than any words could possibly say, that I was able to do or say something of substance that could be of help to you and your family in this tragic time. I deeply respect those in uniform who serve, and I also respect your feelings and beliefs......unlike others, I would never presume to judge you for the actions you have taken or the stance that you have regarding the display of the flag of The United States, where I was born and lived for 20 years before moving overseas. I agree, our soldiers are in distress. Those in uniform are far more than just a "disposable unit".....for whatever reason, they CHOSE to serve - and as such deserve so much more than they ever get or even ask for. All too often, our soldiers are literally cast aside once their perceived usefullness is over - as you would toss away a piece of rubbish. I did not know your son, but I can't help but believe that the value of our world is lessened with his passing. I would like nothing more than to know that one day, soon, you feel able to turn your flag right side up. With best wishes and kind regards, Lee
Keep the faith / Linda Cottle I am so sorry for your loss and for the loss of every man, woman and child caused by this dreadfull war. May you find solace in your beliefs, your religion, and your family and friends.Courage!
To Jason´s Family and Friends / Ken Shockley (None except I´m human ) My heartfelt condolences to Jason´s family and friends. God bless you all and help you to remember all the goodness in Jason´s heart, and the goodness this brave young man brought into your lives. Our deepest gratitude, Jason; may you rest in well-deserved Peace.
My heart goes out to you / Carole Abell Dear Terri, I just want you to know that I would feel the same way that you do and I would also hang my flag upside down. Our government does not do enough for our young people before, during or after they return from danger. The voices of grieving mothers and fathers are not heard, nor are their tears seen. We are in the process of losing our most precious and valuable asset in the United States and that is our children. And, this is all based on a lie.
With deepest sympathy in your loss.
AT PEACE / FRIEND FRIEND (FRIEND)
IN THE ARMS OF A ANGEL / Laura Bly (friend)
"sorry" i feel is not enough / Selena (England) Amom To A. Lost Baby Boy (none) Firstly may i say how sorry we are for the loss of your son brother friend Jason.Upon first reading i began to think he had been lost to the war,which was so sad but upon further reading found the final reason for his death tragically sadder if at all possible. My brother died may 13th 2005 after taking a methadone overdose,after years of struggling with life after spending 9 years in the british army although he had been out of the forces for a long time,he never adjusted back to civilian life often doing strange things conversent with army training for battle.Why this stress is so unnoticed and to be honest unaccepted is beyond me. I hope you can take comfort that Jason was an obvious "star" and like he shone on earth so will he up in heaven and i am sure he is taking advantage of all on offer like he had here.Again we are so sorry for your loss and thank god there are "men"like Jason my brother and all other forces personnel willing to do the job others(like your flag mover)will never have the bottle to. xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Letter of Sympathy / Chaplain Grant Speece (Army Chaplain ) Dear Terri, > It is with a heavy heart that I reply to your letter. I did talk with Jason while we were in Iraq. He talked about the difficulty of being in a combat zone, but he also talked with fondness about his home. I am sorry that he had so much difficulty in his return from overseas. I imagine that it is difficult for you, especially when things seemed to be getting better for him. We will never know why people take their own lives. War takes a toll on all of us, whether we serve overseas, or have loved ones who serve. > > You and the rest of your family remain in my prayers. Please contact > me any time you wish. My home phone number is > In Christ, > Grant Speece
We lost our Vet to PTSD ALSO! / Julie Westly (Aunt of Solider who lost his battle w/PTSD ) Too many of our heroes are being lost to PTSD, they DESERVE the care when they come home they are PROMISED when they enlist...We lost our Josh a year after he returned from Iraq also...here is his story: http://joshua-omvig.memory-of.com/About.aspx
We would LOVE to connect with the other 70 families you spoke of in the newspaper article...the numbers MUST be told...all the gov. will speak of are the ones who kill themselves over in Iraq, but MOST do it (because that is how PTSD WORKS, delayed responses)...months after they RETURN HOME!
the ONLY way to wage war on this is PUBLIC AWARENESS, let's make some NOISE!
ONE IN THREE GET THIS DISORDER!...studies PROVE IT (actually it's probably worse than that...you KNOW they underestimate anything the gov. plays fault in)
Love the Bike / L. B. (Friend)
A Poem For Jason / Kayla Kinlaw (Good Friend ) Something so hard goes straight to the soul; it seems impossible to get over and my heart is left with a big hole.
I'm trying to be happy, wearing a smile; but I'm dying inside. The world seems to be fading, and I just want to run and hide.
Everywhere I go I see your face, and realize how much I miss you; and on the day you died a piece of me died too.
I love you Jas / Kayla Kinlaw (Good friend ) Jas.... I miss you so very much and it seems as though you are still here. You are constantly on my mind. I think about all the good times and can't help but smile and yet my eyes fill with tears at the same time. I remember little things like when you get a fever your ears turn red or when you needed to talk you would knock on my window all hours of the night instead of calling. Jason you are missed so very much. And still after all these months I still can't truly accept that you are gone. When I close my eyes at night your face is all I see and I lay there with memories just running through my mind and cry myself to sleep because the love I have for you will never die Jas... I've told you many times that I loved you more than anything and I would do anything for you and that was the truth... I would gladly take your place Jas. You never deserved this. I love you Jason... more than you could have ever imagined and I will until the day I die.
Still so hard to believe you are gone. Seems like yesterday you, me and Heidi were kickin it at the club. I'll never forget when you told me about joining the Reserves, and I tried to talk you into switching to the National Guard, so you could be in w/ me. I wish we would have hung out more when we both got back from our deployments. You are missed very much. I will always remember your smile.
found this and it made me think of you buddy.... :(( (i hope this shows up)
Happy Birthday Son / Mom
Jason, you were born 24 years ago today at 11:48 p.m. at Lucas County Hospital. Your Grandma Pat was the OB nurse that night and she was a proud Grandma in the delivery room. When they handed you to me, you were so perfect. Your chubby little cheeks were so cute and you had a cowlic on you forehead which you made work with your short hairstyle. I couldn't wait to get you home. You looked so cute in your little blue sailor suit. You grew up so fast, always on the go and new adventures to take. I miss you so much, you will always be a part of me son. I can't wait to see you again on the other side. Spread your wings, my Angel, you are free! I love you, Mom
Miss you / Betty Lane (Grandmother) No one knows how much I miss you. When you were 5 and your grandpa A.J. died you were my lifeline,remember when you were in kindergarten and I went to school with you to help make a gingerbread house. Then when we looked all over for leaves for one of your school rojects. When you thought you wanted to play a saxophone and we went to the park to practice so we didn't get tossed out of the apartment. All of the little things that keep you here with me. I am looking forward to seeing you real soon. With all my love, AS ALWAYS, Gramma Betty
Terri,Jena, and Mick / Kayla Owens (Friend) I am so sorry for what your family is going through and I just wanted to let you know that if any of you should ever need anything at all I am only a phone call away. Terri I am always here for you and Jena both and I know that Jas never wanted this. He never wanted to hurt you, your family or most of all Mick. He loved all of you very much. I am so sorry that you have to go through all of this. God knows it won't be easy but I will always be here for you, even if you only need to talk. Keep in touch.
Newspaper Article about Jason's Death / Terri Jones (Mom) Terri Jones of Chariton belongs to an exclusive group - with participants who wish they didn't qualify for membership. Compassionate Friends is based in Albia with several members from the Centerville area. It is a support group for parents who have lost children. On July 14 after months of nightmares and little sleep, Iraqi War veteran Jason Cooper walked down the steps of his father's basement in Des Moines and hung himself. It ended the struggle with his own inner demons, but left his family stunned and bitter. Jones describes her son as a young man who enjoyed life; an enthusiast of rollerhockey, speed skating, martial arts and motorcycles. She said it was this love of physical challenges that inadvertently led to his death - a victim of war just as much as if he had died in the midst of battle. Jones would like to know how many other soldiers have been failed, but there is no way of knowing. The Pentagon is not keeping count of suicides among troops who kill themselves after they leave Iraq. Looking for jobs at a Des Moines mall, Cooper and a best friend found themselves talking to an Army Reserve recruiter. The recruiting office posters would have appealed to Cooper, the images of smiling, robust young men and women looking as if they were on their way to sporting games instead of battle. "He joined because of the physical challenge," said Jones. "He had the attitude that if anyone else can do it, I can." Jones said the recruiter asked him if he had broken any bones. Cooper told his mother he had explained about an injury that had shattered his jaw, resulting in months of elaborate wiring to meld the broken pieces. The recruiter again asked if he'd ever broken any bones and again her son began describing the injury, Jones said. Then, according to Cooper, the recruiter pointedly said that he was only going to ask one more time - did he ever break a bone? Finally taking the hint, Cooper said no. A couple months later in March of 2003, he found himself in basic training at Fort Knox. The invasion of Iraq began half way through his training. Jones said her son excelled at Fort Knox, even helping train other recruits because of his martial arts background. Assigned to the 389th Engineering Company in Iowa City, too late to have traveled with his home unit to Iraq, Cooper was then attached to the 308th Quartermaster Company in Mt. Pleasant. Deployment orders sent him to Fort Riley for training until they left for Iraq in February of 2004. Once there, Cooper found he was not going to be carrying out the duties he'd been trained for - refueling and water purification. Instead he'd be driving in convoys along what is called the most dangerous stretch of highway in the world - the road leading from central Baghdad to the country's main airport. Jones said that his unit was stationed at a small base, Log Base Seitz, outside the Baghdad airport. It was nicknamed "Mortaritaville" because of the heavy amount of shelling the camp took from insurgents. As of June, there were 90 separate attacks on the small logistical base in the past year. Six soldiers were killed, four from mortar rounds, and more than 60 wounded. It was also close to the infamous Abu Ghraib Prison and received even more shelling when the torture of Iraqi prisoners became public. "Five hundred thousand pissed off Iraqians lived right across the street,"Cooper wrote in an email home. At the same base was the 1st Cavalry, and the two units worked so closely together that Cooper received a 1st Cavalry patch. Because it was so dangerous for the convoy drivers at the small base, Cooper informed his mother that they were told they could move to a larger and safer base. The commander refused and was later awarded a Bronze Star. Emails from Cooper continued to get worse, constant stories of attacks on the base and the convoys. In June of 2004, his convoy was ambushed. Later, Jones was Instant Messengering with Cooper and she asked if he was alright. "Not really," he typed back. Shelled on the way to their destination, they had to return the same way to home base under fire. At one point, Cooper and other soldiers were ordered to search the weeds along the road in the dark for insurgents. " I thought I was going to have a heart attack last night when we were stoped on the road.. my heart was about to explode, from over beating... ," he wrote. Cooper returned home for two weeks in July. It wasn't the young exuberant son who came home. "It was like a movie was running in his head all the time," said Jones. "We'd have to say, 'Jason, hello,' and snap our fingers to get his attention." Just once did he relate one specific fire fight to his family. Jones thinks he never spoke of it again because her son was sure he had killed Iraqis. The convoy took above fire from a bridge. Jumping behind a .50-caliber heavy machine gun mounted on the back of his vehicle, he shredded the bridge with the gun's intense firepower of more than 500 rounds per minute. He also related being on a "warlock mission," riding the point truck that had equipment designed to jam radio-detonated roadside bombs. His lead vehicle passed unscathed, but the soldiers just behind him weren't as lucky when they took a direct hit.from a dump ruck loaded with dynamite. Jones believes this was the incident where a friend was killed and Cooper expressed guilt that he hadn't been able to protect him. In one mortar attack, he escaped unharmed, though his vest took shrapnel. The deaths and injuries of his war buddies, close calls and guilt were taking their toll on Cooper. In one call home, Cooper told his mother he knew he wasn't going to make it back alive. A tearful Jones replied that if she could, she'd fly a plane over that very instance and bring him home. But he did come home March 6 of this year and though he didn't show any visible injuries, Jones said Cooper was suffering from "emotional cancer." The movie was again running in his head, of wounded Iraqi children vainly begging for medical help at the gate and dead bodies - both of friends and enemies. His girlfriend told of numerous nights when he would twist and turn from nightmares - when he did manage to sleep. It was difficult for him to concentrate and carry on conversations. He would jump at loud sounds. In April he was with sister Jena when she gave birth to his nephew, Jacari. He became distraught holding Jena's trembling hand as she went into labor He had held too many quaking hands in Iraq, Cooper explained, referring to his wounded "battle buddies." At first, he was inseparable from his little brother, Mick."They were together day in and day out, 24/7," said Jones. But beginning two weeks before July 14, Cooper stopped his visiting. "I think he had made up his mind then what he was going to do." "At one point he said he wished he'd never come. We thought he meant staying in Iraq, but I now think he meant he wished he had died over there," related Jones. ""He couldn't understand why the guy next to him should die, but he lived." The nightmares were getting worse and he'd suffer from flashbacks. They tried contacting the chaplain he'd gone to while in Iraq, but he'd been reassigned to another state. Seeing a chaplain wasn't seen as a sign of weakness, Jones said, which was why many soldiers would not see psychiatrists. And not once during his time back from Iraq did the Army ever check how he was doing, Jones angrily said, though one in five soldiers returning from Iraq have been found to suffer from post traumatic stress. Cooper was preparing to rollerblade the evening of July 14. He had skate bearings soaking in the sink. But at a little after 5 p.m., his girlfriend got a call saying he couldn't take it anymore, that he loved her and goodbye. She rushed through the 5 p.m. traffic to find all the doors locked. Breaking in through the basement, she found him hanging. A quickly grabbed pair of scissors was used to cut him down and 9-11 called, but it was too late. "He was running that movie in his head since he got home and got to the point where he couldn't live it again,"said Cooper's mother.. Jones recalled how she was bounced around different military offices to find outhow to arrange his funeral service. "I had to call several different departments on my own. When I told them my son had just died last night, they'd say 'sorry for your loss' and 'just to let you know, you aren't the only one.' I'd ask how many and they'd say they weren't keeping track. Cooper's death came as a shock to the whole family. They had never realized the "emotional cancer" had consumed that much of the brother and son they knew. That is one of the reasons, Jones said, she is coming out with her son's story. She wants other families of returning soldiers to look for the warning signs of post traumatic stress and take them serious - seeking help as soon as possible.