Saturday, August 22, 2009
A Few Last Photos of Leif in Uniform in 1998
I think these were taken when Leif was in either Azerbaijan or Uzbekistan with UN exercises in September 1998. You can see that he still has that jaunty pride about him, that confidence, and that he was still enjoying life and even the army. How I wish he had been able to continue that way. I will always wonder what happened to trigger the asthma that ruined his life in the army and that as a possible career. He said that when they were in Uzbekistan they were down in the sand breathing dust and sand for two weeks and i've always wondered if that was what started it. We will never know.
I still have his boots, a pair of his BDUs (known as fatigues in "my day") and his dress greens (Class A uniform) in my closet and his dog tags hanging in my bedroom. If he had a child, I would pass them on, but for now, they are just another memory for me, evidence of a period of his life along with so many other things of his I don't know what to do with. You can sell a car, but what do you with personal items like that? I gave away his clothes and shoes to a church thrift shop that helps migrant workers though Peter W. saved some of Leif's shirts, but the uniform seemed somehow significant, far more significant than a regular civilian shirt or pants. The uniform signifies his service to our country and something he identified with more deeply that most people could ever understand.