Army Year in Photos: Joy, Sorrow and Coming Home

We may be two weeks into the New Year, but it’s not too late to reflect back on 2011 especially when it comes to photographs.

Sgt. 1st Class Manuel Delarosa, Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul, Shinkai Detachment, finds a pair of shoes for a young girl while helping Afghan National Security Forces distribute winter supplies in Safidar village, Afghanistan, Feb. 1, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)

Facing the reality of war reminds me of a saying my mother repeated often: The deeper the well that sorrow digs the more happiness it can hold.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized my mother was paraphrasing a quote from Kahlil Gibran’s book The Prophet:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

The joy of the barefoot girl above as she received a pair of shoes (I hope she got the pink ones) is countered by the sorrow of the little girl pictured below who has lost her father.

Hailee Cook, daughter of fallen Spc. Michael Cook Jr., sits near the Global War on Terror monument at Fort Riley, Kan., during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony Sunday. Cook was killed in Iraq this June (2011) while serving with the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Roland Hale, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs

The end of 2011 also meant the withdrawal of all combat forces from Iraq. Here’s one little girl happy she got her dad back.

Abigail Castro, 21 months, clings to her daddy, Spc. Kory Castro, following his return to Fort Riley, Kan., Oct. 21. Spc. Castro, assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, was one of more than 250 1st Infantry Division Soldiers who returned from a 12 month deployment to Iraq as part of the Dagger brigade's first "main body" flight. Photo by Mollie Miller, 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs

And lastly, a photograph of what “little” girls can become when given opportunity and support.

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and retired Col. Ray Horoho pin three-star epaulets on the shoulders of Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, the 43rd surgeon general and commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Command, at a ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., Dec. 7, 2011. Horoho is the first nurse and first woman to be nominated for the position and confirmed by Congress. Photo by Rob McIlvaine

You can view the full year in U.S. Army photographs and even download a calendar for 2012 HERE.

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