Bringing the war home


Photos on the Wall of Soldiers, collage of photos of family members and other soldiers on tour in Iraq and Afghanistan, are posted on boards in the back of the room where group members are packing boxes to send to these overseas soldiers on Thursday, January 4, 2007.

(AARON DAYE/The Gainesville Sun)
Published: Friday, January 26, 2007 at 5:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 26, 2007 at 5:00 p.m.

If you've ever doubted the power of e-mail, talk to Jim Yakubsin.

Yakubsin, a former Marine, was sitting at his home computer one day three years ago, when the words "Are you there Dad?" came on the screen. It was his son, Jamie, sending him an instant message from Iraq.

The admitted non-computer guy had to get some quick tutoring, and father and son had a memorable 40-minute chat. But that's not where the e-mail story began. Months earlier the phone rang. It was Jamie calling home after being wounded by a roadside bomb.

"You could tell in his voice he was hurting, but he was OK," Yakubsin says.

And the daily e-mail that followed, connecting father and son was even more vital.

"It really helped him get through the day," says Yakubsin.

And Jamie Yakubsin, who is now looking forward to his March 9 graduation from the Santa Fe Community College Police Academy, can attest to the power of e-mail.

"It kept me sane basically," he says. "It gave me a lot more support, mentally it healed me up."

Television brought the Vietnam War into American living rooms. Today, communication between soldiers serving in Iraq or Afghanistan and their families at home is as close as a computer keyboard thanks to e-mail.

Read more on Sunday in the Gainesville Sun's Daybreak section.

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