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Ohio feeling the losses... August 05, 2005 7:25 AM

Ohio feeling the losses...7:19 AM
Community Consoles Ohio Military Families

By JOE DANBORN, Associated Press Writer

With the last of 16 Ohio families notified that their Marines were dead, other families from the same casualty-weary battalion emerged from unspeakable worry and began trying to help.

"When my son comes home, I can have my nervous breakdown," said Isolde Zierk, who leads a support group for a Columbus-based reservist company that has suffered 11 of the casualties. "Until then, I'll just keep on doing what I can."

The losses came in quick succession for the suburban Cleveland-based 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines. Two soldiers died July 28 in a gun battle, followed by five on Monday while on sniper patrol. Then nine members of the battalion were killed Wednesday along with five other Marines and an interpreter in the deadliest roadside bombing of U.S. troops in Iraq.

The news devastated communities across the state and sent families of soldiers in the battalion on a frantic search for details of what happened. Zierk said she didn't get the news faster than other people, but she became a common contact for those seeking encouragement or just someone to talk to.

The whole time, her thoughts were on her son, Sgt. Guy Zierk, 29, who serves in the Columbus-based Lima Company. On Wednesday, she had choked back tears as she said, "My stomach's in knots." Now that she knows he's alive, she plans to send an e-mail update to the 300 family members of the company's reservists and continue lending a shoulder to those who need it.

"Even though I am a mother too and have a son there, my role is to help take care of other families, and that is what I am concentrating on now," she said.

Others are also reaching out to those who lost sons, husbands, brothers and fathers.

Jan Rozanski, whose son Sgt. Alex Rozanski serves in the battalion and was not killed, plans to attend as many funerals as possible even though he doesn't know the family members of any of the Marines who died.

A memorial will be held for all the dead Marines on Monday night in Cleveland at a convention center that can hold 30,000 people.

The remains of the nine killed Wednesday should return to the U.S. within about five days, said Capt. Chris Logan, a Marines spokesman.

Kristin Earhart, 22, of Pickerington, said she shares a special connection with those who have lost loved ones. Her boyfriend, Cpl. Dustin Derga, was among four other Lima Company Marines who were killed in May.

"They are close friends and there is something relaxing and comforting about being with people that have been through the same things," she said. "There is a bond that will never fade."

Some family members connected to the Lima Company are doing what they can to make the surviving Marines' homecoming a welcome one.

Retired Sgt. Jim Bannister hopes to collect $50,000 by October to pay for members of the company to attend the Marine ball in November. The desire to help has only grown as the company's casualties have mounted, said Bannister, who attended a family picnic for the company Sunday.

"You could just sense it," he said of the atmosphere at the event. "There's been a real outpouring of support."

Associated Press writers Sarah Anderson in Columbus and Terry Kinney and Lisa Cornwell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.

In Memory of All those who have risked, given or lost their lives for War

In Memory of the soldiers & Their familes and friends for their loss.

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 August 05, 2005 7:31 AM

Bless you, Ginger.  [ send green star]
 August 05, 2005 7:42 AM

I saw this on the news. It is soo sad.  [ send green star]
 August 06, 2005 3:22 PM

Very interesting and touching, Ginger! I hope this senseless war will soon be over... Italian troops are also having losses, even though they're there solely to keep the peace.

Every time I see a Marine, at one of the military bases here in Naples, I think of those who're fighting and risking their lives... Most of them are very young and unexperienced, despite the sophisticated weapons and equipment...

Blessings to all the people who are in Iraq now, natives included. With all my heart,

Giuliana aka Princess Little Rock

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Yes, Many of them were young and so... August 19, 2005 6:42 AM

Yes, Many of them were young and I agree, Guiliana, very inexperienced and then we dress them up in uniforms, give them a gun or piece of machinery and send them off to fight a war, indoctrinate them to become fighting machines. Young souls behind guns. Below is a haiku/senryu I wrote a few years back about thesoldiers. I am theoffspring of a military marriage(Army). My father was in for 22 years. ---ginger

When Enemies Meet

soldier's feet running

hearts racing palms sweating

guns with souls meet

g.a. meeder 2001

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 August 19, 2005 10:48 AM

What a beautiful, little poem your father wrote! It didn't need to be pages long... it went right to my heart!

In any case, next time I go to one of the bases here in Naples, I'll ask the chapelains whether they're planning to have a Mass/vigil/prayer group/Protestant Service. If they do, I'll let you know and, perhaps, we could all pray together.


Giuliana aka Princess Little Rock

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