UPDATE: Wounded Iraq veteran would 'Do it all again'
"We live in the best country there is to live in. We have our freedoms. For them to go over and help that country have just a little bit of what we have here, it was worth it," said Corey's wife, Jenny.
YANKTON, SD (KTIV) -
It's been a decade since the war in Iraq began. Was it worth it? It's a question that has endured the years and divided the nation. Wednesday, KTIV asked what the family of a wounded Siouxland soldier thought.
In the 10 years since the Bush administration's "awe" inspiring aerial assault on Baghdad, the U.S. never found weapons of mass destruction. But did oust Saddam Hussein and brought free elections to Iraq.
More than one million American troops went in. Forty-five hundred were killed. Thirty-two thousand others were injured, one of them, South Dakota Guardsman Corey Briest.
In December of '05, Corey was struck in the head with shrapnel when an I.E.D. exploded near his military convoy.
"Corey has a traumatic brain injury. He still has shrapnel embedded in his brain," said Corey's wife Jenny.
Corey has trouble with movement, speech, and is legally blind. He can only see from a small spot in his right eye.
"Some days he can read words. Some days he can tell you, 'There's when a yellow car went past'," said Jenny.
Jenny had to quit her job as a special education teacher to become Corey's caregiver. The family of four now depends on government funding to get by.
The war in Iraq took something from all of them. Though, they agree, it was worth the cost.
"We live in the best country there is to live in. We have our freedoms. For them to go over and help that country have just a little bit of what we have here, it was worth it," said Jenny.
As the Briest family soldiers on, they've started fighting another battle. They're advocates for veterans with disabilities. They've helped by lobbying in D.C. and have told their story on TV, to Oprah Winfrey.
To any other, their challenges may be dreaded. Corey just says…
"I'd do it all again," said Corey. "I would."
The Briest family isn't facing their challenges alone. People from their hometown of Yankton have pitched in, big time. In 2007, the community built the family a specialized home, that's handicap-accessible.
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