Barbara Anderson remembers gluing her eyes to the television, soaking up every scrap of Persian Gulf War news for clues about her son. She knows the families of today's soldiers are doing the same.
For Anderson, the only news that mattered came in a telephone call from her daughter-in-law. Anderson buried her son 12 years ago in a closed casket.
"I worry about all of them," Anderson said of the families of today's soldiers. "I wonder what's going to happen, and how many might get killed."
Her son, Marine Lance Cpl. Stephen Bentzlin, 23, died when a rocket fired by a U.S. pilot struck the armored vehicle in which he was riding. He was among 11 Marines killed in the first major ground battle of Operation Desert Storm. Seven Minnesota soldiers died during the war.
David Jones of Grand Rapids also lost a son in the war. He said the mother of another dead Gulf War soldier once told him that if she had known her son would go to war, she never would have let him join the service. But Jones said he didn't feel that way.
"We knew that if he was in uniform, he might have to go to war," Jones said.
Army Spc. Glen Jones, 21, was one of 28 soldiers killed by a Scud missile that hit a military barracks. He had been in the area just nine days.
An Army sergeant found David Jones at work and told him the news. Jones called his wife and told her to meet him at home; he told the Army men to wait outside.
Rosalie Jones saw the green Army van follow her husband to the house. "She knew what was going on," David Jones said.
"That's not an easy time. You never get over it," he said. "The sharp edges are no longer there, but the rounded edges, the memories, are still there."
Jones' family has a long history with the armed forces. Rosalie and David Jones both served in the Army, and all four of their children served as well. Their daughter was a sergeant at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, in charge of posting the lists of Gulf War casualties for base personnel to read. When word came in that her brother had been killed, someone snatched the list to make sure it wouldn't be the way she learned about her brother's death. David Jones said the Army sergeant who delivered the news to him was sensitive. But he has heard of other military families that weren't so fortunate.
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