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My Faith: The uncertainty of a Navy SEAL wife
A recent military funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.
August 10th, 2011
04:21 PM ET

My Faith: The uncertainty of a Navy SEAL wife

Editor's Note: Leeana Tankersley is the author of Found Art: Discovering Beauty in Foreign Places (Zondervan 2009), a spiritual memoir of the year she lived in the Middle East with her Navy SEAL husband.

By Leeana Tankersley, Special to CNN

On Saturday, my husband and I received news of a downed helicopter in Afghanistan with 22 SEALs aboard. I have been a SEAL wife for eight years—our entire relationship taking place during wartime—but we have never experienced this magnitude of loss.

We have been living in the Middle East for three weeks now, recently relocated for our next tour. Here, the fight feels so much closer, the losses more tangible.

I immediately thought of those wives and mothers—a wife and a mother myself—who would be waking up to the tragic news that their loved one was gone. I thought of how many times my husband has stepped onto a helicopter.

Forces in Afghanistan kill militants involved in downing of copter

And I thought back to another tragedy in the SEAL community, the death of Marc Lee in 2006, the first SEAL killed in the Iraq war.

When the news of Marc’s death arrived, my husband—not home two weeks from deployment himself—got on a plane and headed to New York to go meet Marc’s widow, Maya.

The Navy assigned Steve to be her liaison, helping her from the hours after she learned of her husband’s death through the first few weeks of grief, as she navigated innumerable decisions and logistics.

Steve called me a couple times while he was in New York to say things like, “You know I love you, right? You know I really love you.”

And I would say, “I know, honey. I know you do.”

After his trip to New York, he escorted Maya and her mother back to San Diego, where Marc was buried.

Kansas boy wants the world to recognize fallen dad

He sat beside Maya as her official escort on the day she laid her husband to rest. It was the saddest day I can remember.

Hot sun burned my chest red as we sat in the August heat perched atop Point Loma, high above the San Diego harbor, looking out onto the ocean. We sat in rows of wooden folding chairs set up between the graves.

The sight of it all is suffocating, every headstone a father, son, or brother, a mother, sister, or daughter. Each with his or her own story of life and death.

Seated in front of a large picture of Marc and huge sprays of flowers, we waited for the black Suburban to arrive. Fellow SEALs, with quivering chins, brought the casket to the front as bagpipers breathed “Amazing Grace.”

The Suburban arrived, and my handsome husband in his Service Dress Blues emerged, extending his hand for Maya, who stepped out in a black halter dress with a flowing skirt. Dark red rigatoni ringlets framed her large sunglasses.

A widow at 25.

Maya grasped my husband’s arm as they made their way to the front row. An officer knelt down in front of Maya and presented her with the flag from Marc’s casket. “On behalf of a grateful nation,” he began, reciting the words no woman would ever want to hear.

Later, he told me that the SEALs present at the grave took turns pushing a Trident (the SEAL insignia) pin into the side of Marc’s casket. Before it was lowered into the ground, my husband knelt down next to Maya as she said her final words to Marc.

Marc’s death and the death of the 22 SEALs in Saturday’s tragedy speak to the utter lack of assurances life offers us.

No matter how much I believe in and trust God, no matter how spiritual I am, no matter how much I pray on my husband’s behalf, I have no guarantees that God will spare him.

Does my believing make his job any less dangerous? Does it bring back those we’ve lost? Or prevent another devastating loss like Saturday’s from happening?

No. I have to make peace with the fact that even my most fervent prayers may not spare a soul.

So does my believing change anything?

Yes, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, he is with us. This is the truth I hold on to, the bit of faith I can cling to. In our greatest pain, he sees us. May that sliver of hope somehow matter to all those who grieving today.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Leeana Tankersley.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Death • God

soundoff (189 Responses)
  1. Joe

    As always you find those on blogs who are nothing more than anti government trolls. They have not the courage to fight so they fail to understand the valor and bravery these men had. In reality folks like spiffy have no courage or valor. War is horrible and certainly not glamorous but if one would not die for ones way of life then what would one die for? Nothing I suppose. Then you deserve nothing in return. Good Day, Joe.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:50 am |
  2. Joe

    War is hard and it is meant to be. Yes I feel the economic strain. I am retired and some times I wonder if the government will take it away. But I love my country and I would not live anywhere else. I would rather live in a homeless shelter in America than in a mansion anywhere else in the world. I am often told that my retirement checks would go alot farther in Costa Rica or Mexico but I say their is no place like home. I was born in the U.S.A. and here I shall die. God Bless Our Troops, And God Bless America. Good Day, Joe.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • Fred S.

      Congratulations on being so patriotic. At least there are some.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:49 am |
    • Frogist

      Incalcitrance and xenophobia and the inability to receive criticism are notthings to be proud of, whether you call it patriotism or not.

      August 11, 2011 at 10:16 am |
  3. *frank*

    The median IQ
    in this thread
    will be 65.3

    August 11, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Fred S.

      For best results, the President's IQ should be around 160. That's Jefferson, Madison, Kennedy, or Bill Clinton. Lower than that, and the person does not have enough memory or abstract reasoning ability to control a huge organisation like the US government. Bush (138) or his father (145), although intelligent, are not smart enough to do a creditable job – worst of all time and mediocre. Obama, a graduate of Harvard Law School, should be around 155, although that is just a guess, since the published research stops currently with Bush, Jr. John Adams and Nixon were at that level.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:01 am |
  4. Teba

    Spiffy it is about the cost of Freedom.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:43 am |
  5. Joe

    War is horrible and loss is real. Our men are brave and their will is strong. We will win this struggle though victory will not be measured in one final victory but rather measured in the peace it creates for Americans. This is no vietnam, though Iraq certainly was not the place we should have gone, no this is the defense of our way of life. It has drained us economically and it has taken the best among us. But still we fight on because we must. I am no political man. I don't pretend to have the answers to everything but it seems no we are fighting the real enemy instead of the Iraq war we are now engaging those directly responsible for September 11th. We won't live in fear and we will have peace or their will be a heavy price our enemies will pay. Some say war is to expensive. I agree but I also think that when those who hate you give you no choice then war is inevitable. If this war destroys the U.S. then it is sad but we will take a whole lot of our enemies with us. God Bless The Fallen, Thank You For Your Sacrifice, Joe.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • Frogist

      How can a war in the service of preserving the US be something that we should engage in if it destroys the US? That doesn't make sense. If preservation is what we're after, which is questionable, how can destroying ourselves for the sake of war even be an option?

      August 11, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  6. Spiffy

    Horribly written.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:34 am |
  7. Reality

    And why did these Seals pay the ultimate price for their country?

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

    The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Then we can talk about "peaceful" Islam. Until then, no male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

    August 10, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Fred S.

      I think Americans could possibly be a little more respectful of the Prophet Mohammed, the Koran, and the Islamic religion generally. Whether they believe in the stuff themselves or not. That problem has certainly wasted enough money, time, and peoples lives. In addition, understanding "The Enemy" 's rationale and belief system would obviously be extremely valuable.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:14 am |
    • Reality

      What we see and understand about the "Profit" Mohammed:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,483 and 925 in non combat roles. 99,901 – 109,143 Iraqi civilians killed as of 3/3/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,141 killed in action, 242 killed in non-combat situations as of 03/03/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      August 11, 2011 at 7:31 am |
  8. IAM59

    Thank you for sharing your insightful and heartfelt story. To the family of Marc Lee and to the family of Brian Nichols- these were selfless men. I am the sister of a Vietnam Veteran who by the grace of God came home... so I relate to those who live with constant worry... over their loved ones; I use to see my mother pray for him ea. night- I was still a child – and this is one memory I have that doesn't go away- my Mother praying for her son... To all who did not and will not return home– You have NOT died in Vain.

    August 10, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Spiffy

      So does that mean that all those who died, died because God wouldn't show them grace?

      August 11, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • JL

      @Spiffy-this is not a religious debate...everyone has a right to believe what they want to believe, regardless of your opinion. Show some tolerance.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:56 am |
  9. Mrs, Green

    Thank you for telling this story. Heartwrenching. It makes me appreciate my husband and family that much more. Thank you for sharing.

    August 10, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  10. skorpioxr

    why dont you write about the families of Iraq and Afghan innocent civillians died by americans/NATO? nobody remember they... only the deah of americans matter, right?? how many children in this countries killed, innocents!!!!

    August 10, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • Indiana

      That is the problem America only think about them some and rest of the world is nothing for them. So my friend you find No answers.

      August 10, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • Mike Canada

      Um, maybe the Afghans, particularly the extremists and Taliban should take some if not all of the responisbility. I'll bet you haven't even seen the plight here in person or realize that they're causing their own problems. Obviously you have know idea the SOTF or CA missions are about.

      August 10, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • Reality

      Our War on Terror and Aggression:

      An update (or how we are spending or how we have spent the USA taxpayers’ money to eliminate global terror and aggression)

      The terror and aggression via a Partial and Not-to-Recent and Recent Body Count

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,483 and 925 in non combat roles. 99,901 – 109,143 Iraqi civilians killed as of 3/3/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,141 killed in action, 242 killed in non-combat situations as of 03/03/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      Other elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

      -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,481 and 924 died in non-combat, 99,901 – 109,143 Iraqi civilians killed as of 3/3/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,141 killed in action, 242 killed in non-combat situations as of 03/03/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

      – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

      – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

      – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

      – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

      – – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

      – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

      – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

      – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.

      – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

      The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

      – the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

      – Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

      August 10, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • matt

      On the night Jesus was captured in the Garden of Gesimine Peter took a sword and cut of the ear of the body guard of the high priest. Jesus healed the man's ear and in simple terms gave a very easy to understand principle for his followers then and today to live by. He said something to the effect, return your sword to its place, those who live by the sword will die by the sword. He also told his followers to be no part of the world, meaning that like him he should avoid involvement in the political and military conflicts of this world. Are there any true Christians on this earth today? Are there any Christians organizations that refuse involvement in the political and military conflicts in this world today. Are there any true followers of Jesus Christ that refuse military service on that grounds. True believers would not have been in that helicopter in the first place. True believers in the only true God would be soldiers of Jesus Christ and their sword would be the Word of God, the Bible. Can you find true Christians who use the Bible to preach the good news of the Christ and follow his principles. Yes you can, but you will not find them wearing the military uniform of any country. So the next time one knocks on your door ask them to explain Isiah 2:1-4 to you.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:07 am |
    • Spiffy

      @matt

      By your definition there are no "true Christians" because every Christian has sinned.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:16 am |
    • Reality

      Matt,

      The ear removal/replacement story is simply another myth concocted by the writers of the NT to make Jesus into a deity. Many contemporary NT scholars have reviewed all the passages of the "passion" and have concluded they were basically contrived. e.g. Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 100.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • Victor

      You have to know that this site is based out of the United States of America. While it is important to know that innocent civilians were hurt or killed. However, you want to read about the other civilians that were killed in that country, maybe you should visit the media based out of that country. I am proud to read about our forces defeating those who wish to cause harm to my family. Those soldiers who have passed paid with their lives. As an American citizen, I want to know what they did to protect my family.

      A proud citizen of the USA
      – Victor

      August 11, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • Frogist

      @Mike, Canada: We're dropping the bombs and using the drones. We have to take responsibility for the destruction we cause.

      August 11, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  11. Roy Bass

    This was a heartfelt and honest insight into the Navy Special Operations community. The perspective of this woman should give us all pause and we should take a moment to think of the women whose husbands do this day in and day out. Then think of the mothers. I have worked with SOF and they are the best that America has, but their spouse's are the strong ones. No matter your opinion on the political climate of the conflict, know that all gave some and some gave all. Thanks for your service

    August 10, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • Matt

      This debate will soon be all over anyway. True Christians will be protected by the only true God when his son Jesus Christ the appointed King of God's heavenly Kingdom will battle with the governments of this world and totally defeat them in the great day of God Almighty. The final war of Armageddon will to prove the creator of the universe has the right to rule over human kind, not humans themselves. The issue of disobedience that started in the garden of Eden will have been settled and God's sovereignty will be vindicated. 6000 those years of human rule will be brought to an end and proved a total failure. The issue will never have to be decided again. The legal precedent will have been set.

      There will be no more war. No more soldiers fighting and killing each other in the name of countries or religion. If there were true Christians in Germany before WWI and II and in the other countries that fought there would have been no war, because they would have refused to fight, We make them heroes in our society for fighting and killing each other, yet the majority of those who fought professed to be Christians. Catholics killed Catholics. American protestants killed Germ protestants.

      War begets war. The Muslim world has never forgotten the senseless killing during the Crusades when so called Christians with crosses on the shields and swords slaughtered an untold number of their faith in the name of religion. This issue will never be settled by humans.

      So pay attention! When you see all the false religions of this world under the control of the ruler of this world destroyed you will know that the great tribulation that Jesus foretold will have started. Woe for those who have not taken their side with Jesus and his heavenly father.

      August 11, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  12. Helen

    As a mother of a daughter who is an Army Officer and can be deployed at any time, I want to thank you for such a beautifully written, faithful article. My heart goes out to all the families of those killed in our wars. May God bless all of them in their grieving. And may you and your husband enjoy many, many years together.

    August 10, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
  13. Bill

    Beautifully written artical, but now has she put both herself and her husband in excessive danger because she wanted her time in the spotlight?

    August 10, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  14. Bayousara

    I am going on age 70 and was born twelve days after Pearl Harbor was blown up. Since then we have participated in countless wars and been party the killing of millions of people, mostly innocents. I am so sick of wars. Mothers birth their babies, raise them and then send them off to stupid wars where no one wins. I am sorry for the women who are left behind, but it has been happening for eons and will continue to happen until we learn to live as Jesus taught us. I am not a Christian for my own reasons, but I follow the teachings of the world's true prophets, including Jesus, and they alll taught the Golden Rule, and while the words were different, they say "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," and this is all we need to live by.

    August 10, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
  15. GizzyN

    This was beautifully written... thank you for sharing this glimpse into your shared hopes and your heartache.

    August 10, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
  16. Rose D.

    I think the problem with America is war in the name of capitalism disguised as war for freedom or security. And the Middle East is fighting a war to gain land, money, power, etc. disguised as a war for independence and religion. So I think what we can learn from this is that all governments don't have entirely pure intentions but its really a choice of the lesser evil since its seemingly inevitable to those who have this call to arms. Also, since we are going into quoting things- "The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It’s people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages." -Banksy

    August 10, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Mike Canada

      Rose D. your comment is completely and totally inappropriate, another person who does not understand the meaning of honor, commitment or sacrifice.

      I’m embedded in Afghanistan at the moment a few provinces away from the crash site. Thank you Mrs. Tankersley I completely get meaning of your article and, yes, I always tell my wife and children that I love them. I have faith in God but you are so correct, you never know if you’ll be spared or not. I just do one day at a time thing out here, just like my brothers; it’s the best way to cope. And for those of you who still don’t get what this article is about, visit Danny’s or Mc P’s in Coronado CA, I assure if you don’t get it now you will. For those of you do understand, have one for the boys. God bless.

      August 10, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • Rose D.

      Wow Mike "Canada" another example of someone who believes in the ridiculous amount of propaganda flooding American media and entertainment. The reason why we don't need a draft is because there are plenty of gullible men willing to believe in the b.s. they are fed from the day they are born. Why do we spend so much money on war? Because it fills the pockets of the people on Wall Street and in D.C. Those are the people that run America. Those are the people you are working for and when someone dies its just more material for them to use to bring in others. They do it in Iran by naming the streets after martyrs and they do it here with big war memorials. Also, if there is a god I don't think he would support any form of violence. Thou shalt not kill. period. There isn't an "unless someone says its ok" clause.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:04 am |
    • Daniel

      Blind believers are quite simply blind. It does not matter if you believe in "God," "Allah," or any other deity; zealots are guilty of pride and ignorance. Blind belief does not allow for negotiation or understanding. I have served in the Middle East for the past 3 years. I do my best to serve our country and our countrymen. Aim your slings and arrows at the policy makers. Otherwise, I ask you, what have you really done to serve and protect your fellow man/woman? Are you really and truly deserving of the air you breath simply because you are Christian and hate war?

      There are events and decisions I do not agree with regarding our policies in these wars. However, I serve honorably, faithfully, and without reservation. Can you claim the same? Religion in general (no matter the sect) has been the greatest source of attrocity the world has ever known. It has no place in war, except as a source of salvation, understanding, and forgiveness for those fighting the war (on both sides). I am proud to support your freedom to express your views, as twisted as I feel they are. As such, you are welcome, and may my brothers rest in peace.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  17. loya

    20 Highly traine seals could not live long enough to enjoy fame of killing Osama. Is it normal for Nato Comander to sandwitch
    top of he cream in a low flying chopper to help a small gun battle? Nato has lost it marbles and going stupid. And a day later says the Attcker was killed. Who is kidding whom.? These turban Talibams live in caves and loo all alike.We have enough of lies.
    We have $16 Tr Debt. 20m jobless, 45m on food stamps...can we afford $ 1Tr War and 6000 body bags getting sneaked in at dark of night ?

    August 10, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  18. GEN STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL IRAQ WAR COMMANDER

    OBAMA SOLD ALL OF YOU OUT.
    THIS IS COLD FACT

    August 10, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • GEN STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL IRAQ WAR COMMANDER

      THESE FINE YOUNG MEN WOULD NOT HAVE DIED IF THE TROOP DRAW DOWN WOULD NOT HAPPEN SO QUICKLY.. HE DOES IT FOR THE POLITICAL PURPOSE..THE RESULT IS 100% FAILURE IN OUR DAY TO DAY OPERATION IN THOSE THEATERS.
      I AM DEEPLY SADDEN WITH THE HUGE LOSS OF OUR YOUNG MEN/ WOMEN IN UNIFORMS.

      August 10, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • BG

      Sound like not from around here you do.

      August 10, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
  19. David Millar-Powell

    What an amazing piece of literature. Leeana Tankersley is a skilled wordsmith indeed! May she enjoy many years with her husband. Godspeed Steve!

    August 10, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
  20. Toni Suarez-Harmonson

    That was a beautiful and heart warming article Leeana wrote. May God be with those (all 30 of them) who sacrificed their lives for America...Land of the Free, Because of the Brave. We should all be as brave as they were. God bless them, their families, and all who currently and formerly served our nation! I am a veteran of the GWOT and proud to have served my country for 26 1/2 years. I would do it again. I hope some of my grandchildren feel the same way! God Bless you all.

    August 10, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • Bill

      As a Navy Vet. I thank you for your dignity and service to our great nation.

      August 10, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.