KEN BROWN

Army Chaplain

Lt. Col. Ken Brown

LISTEN TO LT. COL. BROWN'S DIARY

APRIL 9, 2003 · In Iraq, some American troops have described the sights and sounds they've witnessed as "hell on Earth." Over the past few days, many of those in combat have seen dead bodies for the first time. Lt. Col. Ken Brown, a chaplain with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division, is at a camp in southern Iraq, with young soldiers who have seen some of their comrades wounded or killed. This is Chaplain Brown's War Diary entry, about what he says to soldiers when they come to him to talk about death.

You know, I think you see significant change in young people who face death -- their priorities change. I had a young man come to me a couple of weeks ago that had seen a soldier killed and several wounded. He talked to me about, if he had been just a couple of seconds sooner at a certain location, he probably could have prevented that. I think what he was really getting at was something that I faced as a young man in Vietnam as an infantryman -- that is, you're guilty [that] you're alive and your buddy is dead or hurt real bad.


"You're not going to be able to explain the problem of evil or suffering or pain to someone when they're in the midst of it."

You're not going to be able to explain the problem of evil or suffering or pain to someone when they're in the midst of it. Philosopher-theologian Anicius Boethius, who lived in the fourth century, once said about the problem of evil and suffering that it was much like a fairy tale. That God was writing straight with crooked lines, that even when we cannot see the justification and the need for the things that go on, even though they may appear crooked to us, that God was writing with straight lines.

This young man in particular, all I did was just say, "Well, you may come to the conclusion that God has spared you in this particular instance. Now what are you going to do with that life that you have now? Will you use it to do great things, to live a more moral and ethical life?'




U.S. Army Chaplaincy




PREVIOUS DIARY · NEXT DIARY


E-MAIL THIS PAGE
TO:
FROM:
MESSAGE:
NPR's Privacy Policy

Copyright 2003 NPR