Eveleth, MN, US U.S. Army SPC, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, GA 7/26/2007, Eveleth, US
Hello, my name is Cheryl Softich and my son is one of the fallen – Army Specialist Noah C. Pierce and I would like to request a portrait of my son please. The work I have seen is too awesome for words for the most part and when the Gold Star Mothers told me I should request a portrait, I listened and here I am.
Noah died July 26th, 2007. He was just 23 years old when he died. He had turned 19 and 21 while serving two tours of duty in Iraq. As a young boy growing up Noah had one goal – to serve his country. That boy of mine played Army for hours with his friends and shortly after Sept. 11, 2001 my son joined the delayed entry program with the Army. He graduated from high school June of 2002, and on June 24th the recruiter came and picked up Noah and took him off to boot camp – get this, Noah loved boot camp! By the time of the first invasion, Noah was right there on the front lines right behind the Marines. Reality hit and my son was never the same again. War is not a video game.
As a person, Noah was very quiet, honest as the day is long, loved to hunt with his dad, fish with his friends, talk with his mom, and he loved his sister with all he was. All kids loved Noah and he loved them back. In fact, he wrote a poem that has to do with a child he was friends with in Iraq – I will share it with you. These poems were written by Noah after he was home and before he lost his battle with PTSD. These are a few of his poems left behind that we have found. Noah was a very special young man that left a footprint behind on the hearts of everyone that was blessed enough to meet him.
Since his death almost 4 years ago, I have went very public with PTSD and there have been many changes made since Noah died. My goal was to make PTSD a visible wound and I have done so in many ways. PTSD makes a person a POW in their own minds and kills from the inside out.
FRIENDS I feel bad for the kids Can’t blame them for begging Can’t give them anything, they beg more This one was different He was 7 I let him sit next to me on the Bradley I give him water He goes and gets me food It’s great compared to MRE’s No English No Arabic Yet we still understand each other Then it’s time to leave He wraps his arms around me crying I say it will be ok I still wonder if he is.
STILL AT WAR
Got home almost a year and a half ago We were so happy That beer never tasted so good Iraq was the furthest thing from my mind That was the best WEEK of my life It crept up slowly First just while sleeping More real and scary then when it happened After it’s on the mind awake Never 10 minutes goes by without being reminded Been home almost a year and a half physically Mentally I will never be home
FREEDOM ISN’T FREE
It’s dark and I sit at my 50 caliber, trembling 40 miles per hour in a humvee and I have déjà vu I just want to go home Then that bad feeling hits me again Are my ears bleeding? Is everybody else ok? These damn roadside bombs! We are fine Another truck wasn’t so lucky. Back at base there’s no food Can barely get a truck ready for morning Another day kicking in doors Find a cache and insurgents responsible for American deaths Frustrated because we have to be nice while we arrest them So when you talk to me I may not seem to pay attention I may forget to laugh at a joke Remember, Freedom isn’t Free And I would do it all again for you.
TWO TOURS OF IRAQ
Was it right? Was it wrong? I don’t know. My anger destined me to hell Now I drink. Now I drink and cry Re-live my life when asleep So many dead. So many killed Now I question God Is it disbelief, or is it fear? I don’t know. Don’t want to die Don’t want to live But should be dead I’m already in hell Two tours of Iraq.