Memorial Day - 2011

78 Comments

ben-and-elaina-morton-jwh-editBen and Elaina

29 May 2011

Ben Morton answered America’s call from Kansas.  He joined the Army and served in Korea, then reenlisted and served as an infantry Sergeant in Mosul, Iraq.  On the night of 22 May 2005, intelligence was received that high value targets were in a certain large house.  Ben’s recon platoon moved in.  Sergeant Ben Morton led the way up the stairs, and in the ensuing firefight Ben was shot and mortally wounded.  Ben died from blood loss just near the spot where he had been hit. 

It was two nights after the first year wedding anniversary for Ben Morton and Elaina Salinas.  Elaina got word even while flowers and cards poured in, many of them from Ben.  He had ordered flowers each day for the entire month.  The Mortons were a couple deeply in love.  The course of their romance had been like something from a novel and now this.  Even after his funeral, the flowers and cards continued to arrive from Ben.  With Ben’s loss, and his love still pouring in, Elaina was inconsolable, so heartbroken that nobody from either side of the family could reach her.  Their love had been so deep that even their families had fused into one.  Together they searched for answers.  Some nights, Elaina would take Ben’s sleeping bag to the cemetery near the small church on the windswept Kansas plains.  She would weep beside Ben’s grave until she fell asleep even while his family would ask her to come home.  But even when she would come home, she cried all night in Ben’s bedroom until she would finally go quiet. 

One day, Elaina drove to a special place beside a lake where she and Ben had spent much time.  Elaina was alone when she took a small tree branch and traced in the sand by the lake, “I Love You Ben Morton, R.I.P.”  She traced a heart around the words and then joined her love forever. 

Rest In Peace Ben and Elaina.  Many people miss you.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    adam · 7 years ago
    I find it in poor taste that you have a request for funds after such an emotionally touching story.
    Taking advantage of people's emotions to request funding so you can continue doing what you love is very manipulative.
    I used to respect you,
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jason Caz · 7 years ago
    Seriously Adam? That's called a signature, and shows up at the bottom of all his posts, regardless of what it is. Keep your low brain activity comments on other sites.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steve · 7 years ago
    Adam that closing paragraph is automatically added by the web software, not uniquely attached to this posting. All of Mr. Yon's postings close with that paragraph. Many, including I, wouldn't have known about Ben and Elaina if not for Mr. Yon.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bee · 7 years ago
    A spouse's worst nightmare.
    Adam, you like looking for trouble? You came to the Wild West of gun battles armed with a water pistol in a desert. In other words, you're type just aint welcome in these here parts.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jamie · 7 years ago
    What Steve said -- I wouldn't have known about Ben and Elaina if not for Mr. Yon, and he wouldn't have been able to do any of this reporting at all if not for support from readers.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mean Granny · 7 years ago
    This is so sad. I know they're together now. May God bless their families and give them peace.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Will Cushman · 7 years ago
    Thank you, Michael, for this post and for your continuing reporting and photojournalism. This sad story, very appropriate on this Memorial Day, should remind us of the human cost of war. The loss of a soldier's life in the service of our Country extends beyond his family and friends. Children not born, future accomplishments not realized, a life not fully lived. Where do we get such men and women? Remember and give thanks.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jean Mowery · 7 years ago
    Thank you Michael, for sharing Ben and Elaina's story. A soldier's life always affects so many others, and that is why we need to be so supportive of their families, and them when they return home.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Chris Nicosia · 7 years ago
    Thank you Michael for the memory of Sgt Ben Morton and his beautiful wife. As all us who have served know, the spouses and children of service members also serve. I showed this to my teenage children and told them; This is what Memorial Day is all about. The Indy 500 did a special tribute today of a special young son who lost his Father in Iraq. God Bless all of those who continue the fight against the evils of terrorism and for you Michael Yon on such a great web page.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Violette · 7 years ago
    She just couldn't wait to be reunited with her Soul Mate in another life...
    Trop insoutenable: Je t'aime,Ich liebe Dich,I Love you ! ! !
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Donna Griego · 7 years ago
    Michael thank you for sharing this story with us, had you not done so we would not know. And Adam, Steve is correct, all of Michael's posts have that comment, he has been bringing us accurate and reliable reports from the war for some time now, he does so because of private citizens who support him. I greatly appreciate that, and trust his reports. I have followed him for some time and that message is always there.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    lone_wulfe · 7 years ago
    Adam.. you must be very young or young and jaded - either way, there are thousands of such stories as this - open your heart and understand the world - Michael Yon doesn't need your money, he has many supporters - he's trying to help you AND me understand life from many different viewpoints - not all military and not all tragic. God Bless.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    SGT Medley · 7 years ago
    Adam, Michael places a few lines at the bottom of ever article requesting support. This is nothing new. Michael shares news articles, interesting tidbits, heart warming and tragic stories. Not to mention all the fine work he does bringing us the news from the wars... I think you may have taken this wrong...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Arthur · 7 years ago
    Michael,
    As always, thank you. A very touching story. RIP Ben and Elaina.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    adam · 7 years ago
    Oh, I never saw that it was a signature.
    Still, I have a valid point.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Adele Snead · 7 years ago
    Adam,So sorry that this post upset you but sometimes we must be upset to DO SOMETHING tht we need to do. Praying for you!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mark · 7 years ago
    [quote name="adam"]Oh, I never saw that it was a signature.
    Still, I have a valid point.[/quote]
    ...umm, not if you understand what a signature file is, maybe get out more.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Norm · 7 years ago
    A touching story, and fine writing. I hope the families out there, and the other widows, do not see it as glorifying suicide. This is a double tragedy, that the terrorists reached out and claimed another young, beautiful life, all the way in Kansas. Suicide is NOT the answer. As God for healing and guidance. God Bless our military and their families, and Michael Yon on this sacdred Memorial Day.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    tarawa · 7 years ago
    Please people, pray for safety, healing and the much needed restoration of America for or citizens and Warrior Heroes, in the midst of the battle!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    MarineMom · 7 years ago
    Michael, Thank you for your reporting both in words and pictures. Mostly a huge thank you for supporting our military and giving us a view of what's going on that most do not see.
    I've always said "THOSE WHO WAIT...ALSO SERVE!" On Memorial Day we should remember those who gave their all and their families who gave their loved one.
    Adam - I believe that those who have commented before me have voiced my thoughts quite adequately. Bee...you hit the nail on the head!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    J Findley · 7 years ago
    Really, a triple tragedy, and not just double. Ben risked and gave his life so that Elaina, and all the rest of us, could live in a better and safer world. The third leg of this tragedy is that Elaina did not get the grief counseling she needed to understand that joining Ben was not what he would have wanted, and in a way it diminished his sacrifice in that she took what he prized the most. I make this comment for any others who may find themselves in Elaina's position. I believe she made a poor decision, although an understandable one. For those in the military who deal with these losses, where were you for this woman in her hour of need?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sabre · 7 years ago
    RIP Sergeant Morton & Elaina; we must find a way to avert this collateral damage to the families of our fallen. Support the USO (uso.org). Encourage families of fallen to seek their assistance for loved ones.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dan Shargel · 7 years ago
    Actually, you don't.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John · 7 years ago
    Thank you for sharing this article, very moving. Also thank you for your superb work!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dori · 7 years ago
    Thank you, Michael, for your continued support of our military and for taking your gift around the world living on our faithfulness (or lack of!) in donating. Put whatever signature lines are needed for your support because you're doing what I can't - what some wouldn't!

    There is a BIG difference between blatant self-promotion (which is done by some of the most frivolous, non-important & non-interesting types) and your signature line. God bless you this Memorial Day 2011. Thanks.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    JACK PEEK SR. · 7 years ago
    Incredible! New George S Patton speech: Iraq & modern world
    www.youtube.com

    My right knee is killing me, but I have one, my age is sure taking a toll right now, and I haven't been tough enough to fight it, but I'M ALIVE.


    This great moment in movie history had been "slightly revised", and as GOD is my witness, I stand for every word uttered in this "slightly revised" great speech, by a great actor, from a great general, who should have been president now for us, or in the next election if we could bring him back.


    The day upcoming should not be just a day off...I complained today, about a really sore knee, some will wake and they will have one missing, maybe two....I'm ashamed to have complained, with the date in the morning and what we should be thankful for.


    Jack Peek
  • This commment is unpublished.
    rappini · 7 years ago
    Michael, it's obvious by that first comment that he wasn't in the military aat least that's how I see it. I'll send something
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Melissa Baker · 7 years ago
    [quote name="adam"]Oh, I never saw that it was a signature.
    Still, I have a valid point.[/quote]

    No, no you don't. You obviously didn't take the time to educate yourself on what a signature file is, even after it was pointed out to you.

    If you were a supporter, you would know that all of his communications come with that message. You had to have gotten here via FB or email where it plainly and clearly says "Please remember that this website accepts no advertisement and is dependent on your support."

    Do your full research before posting again please.

    You just had to hijack a lovely remembrance, didn't ya? - thanks for your support of our troops.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rickvid in Seattle · 7 years ago
    Squirming like a worm and using weasel wording, Adam. Just admit that you spouted off from self righteous ignorance, say you are sorry, suck it up and act like an adult and move on. Better to stay silent and let people think you are an idiot, than to open your yap and confirm it.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Peter · 7 years ago
    I lost my wife two years ago to cancer. I understand how Elaiana feels. Thanks to all the troops and Army wives on this day.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Melissa Baker · 7 years ago
    [quote name="J Findley"] For those in the military who deal with these losses, where were you for this woman in her hour of need?[/quote]

    Really? Adding to the pain already there? Really had to go there?

    How do you know she didn't get grief counseling? Were you there? Blaming the military is not the way to go. They do the best they can - but you can't save a person who doesn't want to be "saved". Please don't speak until you have all the facts.

    I'll put you in the same category with "adam" above. Hijacking a thread to further your own agenda instead of just showing support. Shame on you! Take your anger and frustrations out somewhere else.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    adam · 7 years ago
    Maybe you should take your head out of your self propagandized mindset.
    A signature at the end is still part of a post.
    The fact that its there at every post doesnt change the fact that it is there.
    My point is valid and pertinent.
    A persons inability to see both sides of an issue reveals them to be an idiot.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    adam · 7 years ago
    You should prey that you are open to truth, not just to confirm your bias.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    politicaljules · 7 years ago
    Remembering the neighbors that made it possible to celebrate a day in summer of bbq and pools.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0QarL96wg4

    We have such a unique freedom as Americans and we owe a debt of gratitude to those who gave everything to make it possible.

    Have a wonderfully fun and safe day, smile, laugh, be silly with your families, but promise me you will never forget. 
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Frank Renzulli · 7 years ago
    I've never been in the military and, as a result, in my youth, this day had always meant a day off from school and barbeques to me. I've long stopped viewing this day that way. I now say a silent prayer for those in our military and their families who have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of their selfless sacrifices for the benefit of us all. I give thanks to them. Only then, after my reflection, can I fire up a burger and eat it without feeling like the ungrateful asshole I once was. May God smile on our boys and girls in uniform and take to His bosom the fallen.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rickvid in Seattle · 7 years ago
    Looks like we have gotten Adam's skirts in a ruffle.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    johnny_t · 7 years ago
    [quote name="J Findley"] For those in the military who deal with these losses, where were you for this woman in her hour of need?[/quote]

    They were still on the front lines defending all of our freedoms.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jeff Stanley · 7 years ago
    Heart rending for sure, but I'd guess by the location that the young woman took her life with a gun. If so, it cannot have been a pretty sight for the LEOs and EMTs who had to investigate and clean up in the aftermath.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Wulf · 7 years ago
    [quote name="adam"]Maybe you should take your head out of your self propagandized mindset.
    A signature at the end is still part of a post.
    The fact that its there at every post doesnt change the fact that it is there.
    My point is valid and pertinent.
    A persons inability to see both sides of an issue reveals them to be an idiot.[/quote]

    Adam, he begged for money while he had his feet massaged in Thailand for almost a year. He begs for money while insulting the Canadians. He begged for money while traipsing through the Himalayas. This is how he makes a living. Stand your ground. Sometimes sig files need to be removed. This is one of those times.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Wulf · 7 years ago
    I think this is a wonderful story. Most military couples love each other, and this is a day of remembrance for those couple that have been cleaved in half.

    I find it nice that this isn't a recycled dispatch as well.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    ima · 7 years ago
    On Memorial Day - is it really about money? Of course it isn't! If your heart was were it was suppose to be the issue of funding would have never come up! Why don't you squirts grow up and be thankful for the men and women, soldiers and journalists who put their lives on the line so you have the freedom to criticize them? My family had 4 men serving in WWII and I lost friends in Vietnam and others who are still dealing with it everyday. Their families have never been the same. Hopefully, life will bring you appreciation and understanding for the things that really count!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Lucy · 7 years ago
    This is to Adam, all he is saying and the message is loud and clear, never give up, this is a very sad story that made me cry, and never wish this on nobody. He is not wanting your money, he always shares his work with all his readers. Take-care Adam, and don't mis understand the info..............
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paul Garner, AF Ret · 7 years ago
    I enlisted in 1954 during Korea and retired from the USAF in 1975 after almost five years in southeast Asia.The story about Sgt Morton and his lovely bride touched me. I lost a nephew during Tet 68. His chopper,DUST OFF 90 went MIA on 12 FEB 68. CWO Alan Gunn and his crew never have come home. My point? They are all were victims of war who deserve your prayers and thanks.

    You may be gone nephew xa8ndbut you will never be forgotten.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Peter · 7 years ago
    Memorial Day is when I think we as a nation would do well to read Mark Twain's "War Prayer."

    http://warprayer.org/

    An earlier comment mentioned having to recognize various viewpoints. I agree. This story is tragic. But based on sheer necessity of numbers, the loss of loved ones is felt far more by the innocents in the countries in which we are fighting, and by those we are fighting themselves. We are not the only ones missing and honoring and remembering those killed, in action and otherwise.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    M. Kyle · 7 years ago
    "The difference between genius and ignorance is that genius has it's limits."

    And most who are not of the genius category never know when to keep their semi-thoughts to themselves. Ignorance stands out like a sore thumb. ;-)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steve · 7 years ago
    Well Adam better to be thought an idiot then to open ones mouth and remove all doubt I always say
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ted Bryson · 7 years ago
    @Adam, if you were a regular subscriber, you would see that EVERY page has that automatic signature. I think your distraction from the issue of remembrance is in poor taste...
    ____________
    [quote name="adam"]I find it in poor taste that you have a request for funds after such an emotionally touching story.
    Taking advantage of people's emotions to request funding so you can continue doing what you love is very manipulative.
    I used to respect you,[/quote]
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dee · 7 years ago
    :-x TROLL ALERT!! Many, many hours have I spent w/ Mike in email especially during 2005 when he was in Mosul. Mike truly cares. You think it didn't cost him lots of money and equipment to go over and embed? Mike has a unique gift to tell the truth about what happens on his embeds. I WANT him to ask for help to buy his equipment because I WANT him wearing body armor so he can continue to write his dispatches. I want him alive and safe with the equipment he needs to do his job. I will CONTINUE to support him financially & in any way that I can. You trolls can bugger off.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    M. Kyle · 7 years ago
    In full agreement!!! Tell 'em!!! :lol:
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dee · 7 years ago
    Who me? :-* I usually don't respond to trolls but for some reason they just ticked me off especially today & with that particular story. Mike does good work. I remember when he had equipment that barely functioned, no money, left everyone & everything he had to go to Iraq. However, with success he also gets the idiots and they can be idiots and say idiotic things because of the men and women who serve in our military and the very people Mike supports and writes about. Nuff said.

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