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July 16

Another casualty of war?

Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:00 am

Remember the story about Iraq war veteran Marine Sgt. Tyler Ziegel and his post-homecoming wedding? If you don’t remember the story, you likely remember the photo — and not the one at the right: the groom in military dress, bride at his side, his face brutally disfigured by a suicide bomber.

The story, alas, does not have a happy ending, even by depressing TV-movie standards. According to the UK’s Times Online (in a story I, and, it seems, much of the US press, missed until now), Sgt. Ziegel and his wife have divorced after just about a year. What’s lovely here, though, is the Times story itself: respectful, thoughtful, compassionate, clear-eyed in its recognition of reality — and its finding of a silver lining. Read it all, but here’s a highlight (slash, spoiler):

The fairy tale, as we know it, was not meant to be. They were too young to be married. Too young to process the possibility that what led them into a lifelong commitment was a desire for certainty in an uncertain world.
There is no mystery, no implosion, no tragic conclusion. There were factors that added up. Factors that at the time they could not have foreseen. That a marriage would not offset the consequences of Ty’s injuries. That it would not compensate for the loss and the grief felt by a young woman losing her father.
Everyone suspected it was too soon — that maybe it wasn’t right. But nobody spoke out. Others, strangers, projected onto them what they needed to believe.
They were larger than life. When we heard their story, we put ourselves in their shoes, imagining what we would do in the same situation. Renee personified the courage and strength we hoped we would have. But she was 18 years old. And neither is prone to introspection. They weren’t people who asked why. Between the two of them, they had so much life experience, but the emotional narrative of their lives never caught up.
What made us think it would? Why did we have such high hopes for them in the first place? Nobody really ever knew Ty and Renee. Not even Ty and Renee.
But this is not the end. They emerged from the marriage with warmth and affection for each other — not anger and recrimination.
She was there when he needed her most; she showed up and stood by him. That is more than many people will ever have in a marriage. It is something they will always share.


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