Friday, May 28, 2010

735. Memorial Day (We Were Dreamers)

Torn from our family and our lives, we volunteered to put the weight of the nation on our shoulders. Many of us didn’t know why we would ever fight, or what romantic notion would compel us to even try.

It was for God, for country, for family, for the love of a heart so many thousands of miles away; we fought.

Anything would have been better: working late at the office six days a week; driving during rush hour to some distant relative’s house; mowing the lawn on Saturday; shopping with a girl; attending a high school reunion; anything at all.

In between battles, over cigarette smoke and strumming guitars, we would talk about our plans for after we returned home: the embrace of our lover; living life as a college boy; sleeping in everyday; betting on black in Vegas. It would all be so sweet.

It was those images that kept us awake behind our machine guns after fighting for days. It was the thought of our lover’s taste that gave us the drive to search houses and vehicles while not knowing what hid inside. It was the hope of something better that helped us exist unbroken in our reality.

Oftentimes we were mindless; we had been conditioned and trained. We would give immediate obedience to lawful order. We would react by instinct and perform like automatons. But we were dreamers – we would have never joined if that weren’t the case.

And that is the tragedy of a military death in combat. The dreams of nations, the dreams of family and friends, the dreams of the individual soldier; they all fall one person.

It is a burden that those who have survived will never forget. We don’t seek pity and charity from anyone. We just ask that you remember; just like us the best you can.

Lest we forget and the American dream becomes a nightmare.

RIP: Sergeant Bill Cahir; Corporal William Salazar; Lance Corporal Michael Starr; Lance Corporal Norman Anderson; Corporal Joshua Snyder; fallen members Third Battalion Seventh Marine Regiment for OIF II

~ Semper Fi ~

All content ©Dario DiBattista 2010. All posts are for display purposes only and not to be considered published.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

734. Dario's Guest Blog for the Washington Post

From Fallujah to Chili's: A reservist goes back to work (Excerpt)

(You can read the full blog by clicking here)

At the restaurant, right now is the highlight of our guests's week. Monday through Friday, for eight hours a day, they had to dress up, be polite to the boss and look busy behind something light and digital - how tough for them.

None of them carried a weapon instead of a Personal Digital Assistant. None of them listened to wind-tossed dog tags clanking against the rifle, boots and helmet memorial of a newly killed Marine. None of them picked up the body parts of both strangers and friends: a tossed salad served by suicide bombings.

It's March 2005; I've only been back home from my second tour for about four months and I'm heartbroken and poor and not mentally well. It's been over two months since my year-long orders to active duty ended. The military's finance system has yet to sign off on the thousands of dollars they owe me. So I'm forced to work when I'm barely capable of basic existence. On my days off, I'm too depressed to move. On my couch, I watch the days turn to darkness through the slits in the patio blinds; and when it's dark I'll finally rise to go get wasted.

I loved someone once. And she loved me. She wrote me daily in Iraq and drew me pictures. She scribbled hearts under her name and marked the envelopes with lipstick. We used to work at the same store. Now that I'm home again though, I've become an ugly man - filled with rage and sorrow, prone to excessive self-medication. I scared her away. I show up to a different Chili's now; it's too hard for me to face my failures...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

733. Check Out Dario as the Featured Student Voice in The Johns Hopkins University Arts and Sciences Magazine!

Here's a snippet (click here for the full story):

Which is most difficult: Waiting for war, fighting in it...or making sense of the aftermath?

These are among the issues that Marine Reservist Dario DiBattista Jr. grapples with in his memoir Go Now, You Are Forgiven. Currently a graduate student in the Advanced Academic Programs' writing program, DiBattista, 26, served two combat tours in Iraq before coming home, he says, to a life of "discord." Eventually he began to find catharsis by blogging about his experiences—work that gained him notice in The New York Times and an interview on Connecticut Public Radio.

DiBattista's story extends beyond the battlefield. Inhis memoir, for which he is currently seeking a publisher, he writes movingly about the pain of living in "constant flux"—as a college student (at Central Connecticut State University), waiter, and Reservist "on standby for war." In the end, he says, "Go Now, You Are Forgiven is about accepting responsibility for one's life, no matter how the problems came to be, and moving forward confidently and self-forgiven."

Monday, May 3, 2010

732. Don't Leave Me This Night (Ballad for Narrative Poetry Class)

This will be available to own for free on soon. Thank you for your patience.



All content ©Dario DiBattista 2010. All posts are for display purposes only and not to be considered published.