Michael's Dispatches

Memorial Day - 2011

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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