In Memoriam

RIP Tomas Young, Iraq War Vet Featured in “Body of War”

RIP Tomas Young

Tomas Young, who enlisted in the Army as a 21-year old two days after 9-11 and was paralyzed by a sniper’s bullet on his 5th day in Iraq, died on Sunday at the age of 34.    Young was left paralyzed from the waist down and as the result of medical complications later ultimately became a quadriplegic.  He would be one of the first Iraq Vets to speak out against the war and was featured in Phil Donahue’s excellent documentary “Body of War”.   For the next ten years he was frequently in and out of the hospital due to complications from his injury.  Donahue said, the world had lost a “bright light” and a “talented young man” who was determined to speak out against “this massive blunder that was the Iraq war.”

Young condemned President Bush and Vice President Cheney for the war stating, “We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned.”

I attended an event in Santa Monica honoring Donahue at the time of the movie’s release and met Tomas’ mother.  I spoke with her briefly.  She indicated that Tomas was at the hospital at the time, but she kept a brave face carrying the flag for her son to raise awareness about the Iraq War.  While I cannot begin to imagine her grief at this time, I only hope that this family so badly scarred by the wounds of war may find comfort and peace in the end of Tomas’ suffering.

For those who are unfamiliar with the film, a trailer is below.  It truly is a must watch, especially the scenes with the now late Senator Robert Byrd.  Among the honors is received are:

  • National Board of Review — Best Documentary of 2007
  • Producers Guild of America – Producer of the Year Award Nominee, Documentary
  • Toronto International Film Festival – People’s Choice Award – Runner-Up
  • Hamptons International Film Festival – Audience Award – Best Documentary
  • Palm Springs Film Festival – Runner-up, Audience Award — Best Documentary

 

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