Suicide in Iowa follows combat death in Iraq
How many more serve, how many more wounded how many
Soldier shaken by death of brother ends own life
By ELIZABETH OWENS
REGISTER STAFF WRITER
June 23, 2005
Distraught over his older brother's death in Iraq and his own deployment this fall to the war zone, Justin "Paul" Byers purposely stepped in front of a pickup truck Monday night, ending his own life, officials said.
About an hour before Sgt. Casey Byers' funeral began Wednesday morning, Crawford County's medical examiner said he had ruled Justin Byers' death a suicide.
Casey Byers, 22, who died June 11, will become the first Iowan killed in Iraq to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, D.C.
During Wednesday's funeral for Casey Byers in Denison, an Iowa Army National Guard official read a statement 19-year-old Justin had written about his brother.
"I will not lie to you - I was always fighting with my brother and we never got along. My mom said we fought so much because we were very much alike," wrote Justin, who could have avoided going into combat because of his brother's death.
Justin, whose family lives in Schleswig, wrote that he would not cry for Casey because he knew his older brother was proud of what he died for. But Justin Byers, who was the family's spokesman following his brother's death, expressed regret that he never got to say goodbye to Casey or apologize for all the fighting.
"Yes, Casey, I'm exactly like you," Justin wrote.
This family lost two sons in about 10 days.
Both should have had their lives ahead of them.
Now they are only memories.
So, does anyone want to explain how this family can make this sacrifice, while they, who support the war in Washington, do not. How this is resereved for the unlucky, ambitious and poor? And don't think a draft would make any difference, it wouildn't. The rich and powerful have usually shirked service. If we cannot win this war, why are we still fighting it? How many more men and women will die for this horrible mistake, their patriotism and service misused by lazy, indifferent, cowardly men.
posted by Steve @ 8:08:00 PM