Dylan James Brenner, of Big Lake, a staff sergeant in the US Army, was six years old when the first Gulf War broke out during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. By the time he was a grown man, there was another war underway in Iraq under President George W. Bush.
America has had so many wars that we don’t know what to call them anymore. Is it Gulf War I an Gulf War II? Or do we just refer to them now as the Gulf War, and Afghanistan, and Iraq?
Brenner died last month — his obituary said he “lost his battle with life” — and when he was buried in Fort Snelling last month at age 31, his headstone inscription surprised his wife. It said only “Persian Gulf.” He is surrounded at the cemetery by veterans whose service is somewhat more precise: Vietnam, for example. Or even World War II.
“To me, I read Gulf War,” his wife, Dawn, tells Fox 9 News. “The Gulf War was in the early 90’s. “He would’ve been six years old. It doesn’t seem like that’s what it should have been.”
Sometimes inscriptions indicate the military names for wars and she says she’d feel better if “Operation Iraqi Freedom” or “Operation Enduring Freedom” had been used, although we wonder if, years from now, people reading headstones will know to which war some of the names refer.
“I feel like he did something very honorable for this country, and to not put his tombstone correctly is very disrespectful,” she said.
The military has ordered up a new headstone. It’ll say “Iraq”.