Friday, December 17, 2004

Nearly 900 American Children Lost Parents in the Iraq War

Lisa Hoffman and Annette Rainville of the Scripps Howard News Service report that nearly 900 American children lost parents in the Iraq War:
According to the Scripps research, more than 40 percent of the 1,256 war dead through November were married, and 429 had children. At least half of those youngsters were 10 years old or younger. Among the parents who died were six women soldiers who had borne a total of 10 children among them -- another historic first for females in the U.S. military.

Surrounded by family members, Corey Shanaberger holds her daughter Grace, 3, during her husband's funeral. Sgt. First Class Wentz "Baron" Shanaberger was killed in Iraq in an ambush, leaving behind his wife and five children. (SHNS photo by Brendan Fitterer / St. Petersburg Times)

Perhaps most heartbreaking are the more than 40 troops who died without ever seeing their children. At least 34 wives were pregnant -- four with twins -- when their husbands died, and another 15 had babies while their spouses were deployed. While some of the latter were able to return home on paternity leave, most died before they could.

Leslie Hufstedler's husband Doyle died in April, one month before his daughter Gracy was born. Here Leslie and 5-month-old Gracy share a moment at Leslie's parents home in Charlotte, N.C. (SHNS photo by Layne Bailey / Charlotte Observer)

("Children of the Fallen: Nearly 900 Children Have Lost a Parent in Iraq," December 15, 2004)
We have yet to learn how many Iraqi children lost parents in the war and how many Iraqi fathers died without ever seeing their children.

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