While she was in high school my sister had a close friend named Matt. She's always insisted that they were just friends even though she spent more time with him than most of his girlfriends did. And in fact, other than the enormous amount of time they spent doing stuff together and talking on the phone, I never had any reason to think otherwise. Not that it wasn't fun to tease her about it.
Anyway, a couple of years ago Matt joined the Marine reserves. A while back he got called up for active duty, but he wasn't up long and it wasn't terribly hazardous stuff. About 3 months or so ago he got notice that he was being called up again. This time they told him he was going to Iraq. For a few weeks my sister got occasional phone calls from him. (In the middle of the night because he couldn't remember what the time difference was. Well, actually, he's always had a tendency to call her at 3 in the morning so it might not be the time difference after all.)
A few weeks ago his unit got hit with a phone blackout. A couple weeks after that she got a letter from him that was postmarked "Camp Fallujah." By the time she got the letter, the Fallujah campaign had started in earnest. Naturally she was pretty worried. Just before Thanksgiving she got a call from him. He was fine, though things were understandably hectic.
This puts the war in a slightly different light for me. I've know several people who have been sent to Iraq or Afghanistan, but most of them weren't very close to me. I've also known people with close relatives there. However, this is the first instance I know of that included someone close to my family in the middle of a major combat zone. None of that changes any of my convictions about the necessity of the war. It does, however, bring the personal impact of the war home in a more direct fashion. It reminds me that even when an absolute necessity, war is one of the greatest evidences of the fallen nature of mankind that we are ever likely to see.