Winchester puts face on war's cost
Gail Williams' voice was strong as she talked about her son Friday afternoon.
News of Chris Winchester's death in Iraq was still fresh, yet her voice broke only once as she remembered him.
The Marine Corp had changed him, she said. Made him more mature, given him more discipline and self-respect. Even made him appreciate family more.
Winchester had already been in the news in this area this week when he sent an email to WKRG.
Winchester had been worried about his family in Escambia County as Hurricane Dennis approached, calling home numerous times.
The phone calls now seem oddly like a premonition of separations to come.
The potential damage from an approaching Category 4 storm obviously made Winchester concerned for his family. So strong was his desire to look after them that, when he couldn't get leave after Hurricane Ivan, he went AWOL from Camp LeJeune.
Chris Winchester was 24. He joined the military for a chance at a better life, an opportunity to earn a college education.
He is one of many who have lost their lives in support of our country's ideals for us and for others.
It has become almost two easy to forget that the generic terms used by the military and the national media to represent the loss of lives actually represent young, youthful faces; sons and daughters; people who signed up for a chance at life only to lose it.
Chris Winchester's death reminds us that the generic casualties about which we hear are actually the very human, priceless and painful costs for war.
God bless and comfort his family.
Michele Gerlach may be reached at 867.4876 or email@example.com.