January 26, 2007
Vanessa Garcia

I don't know where to begin..The days feel like years
since my cousin Santos was taken from us in Iraq.I try to hold back the
pain in my heart everyday I cant stop thinking of you. Everything I do
reminds me of my Bear. If only I had one more day with you I would
cherish every minute of it. What im trying to say is I MISS YOU:(
Before the week of October 2nd I counted down the days for him to
come home, he was supposed to arrive home that week. From planning our
family BBQ's, picking out his favorite dancing music,and to the wonderful
welcome home signs. My parents backyard wont ever be the same without
Bear he made our family stronger. Now everyday is a struggle the pain is
never-ending. He was the type of person that never wanted to see his
lil cousins sad or mad and if so, he would do everything in his power to
make things right. He was the older brother I never had and still
breaks my heart that he's not with us.
It has been 8 months since his death and the loss of him is still
overwhelming and gets harder day by day. We will never be the same, but we
our honored that Santos served for our Country. I am proud of all our
servicemen & women. Since Santos' death I have never actually looked at
the war from a personal point of view. To lose someone very close to
you as I did makes you realize life is too short. I respect my cousin for
doing half of the things he did and one day I hope I have half of the
courage as he did. Its very hard knowing that Im not going to see him
ever again breaks my heart in so many ways.I miss Bear and we wanted him
to come home. His loss made a big whole in our hearts and I know he was
a hero to all of us. My cousin sacrificed his life so that we'll all
have the freedom to live unlike he did. Theres a lot of families that could
relate to the problem of losing a loved one and for that my heart will
always be with you guys. Support our troops in Iraq and God bless...


Very Close Cousin
In Honor Of SPC. Santos Raymond Armijo
On October 2, 2006, Army Specialist Santos R. Armijo
became the 80th Arizona service member to be killed in the war in Iraq.
He and three other soldiers -- two from Georgia and one from Illinois --
lost their lives to a roadside bomb, as have so many others among the
more than 2700 Americans killed in the war to date. By all accounts,
Specialist Armijo served his country well and honorably, and his obituary
noted that he would be remembered for "laughter, loud music, dancing,
and [a] beautiful heart." It also noted that he was affectionately
nicknamed "Bear."

His funeral, well-attended by family, friends, and media, was held at
St. Mary's Basilica in downtown Phoenix.An honor guard of veterans had
assembled between the bottom of the steps and the waiting hearse to form
a corridor of flags through which the cortege would pass.  Our tribute
to Spc. Armijo -- and to the other thousands of men and women who serve
honorably in America's armed forces in Iraq and elsewhere. And
especially to the growing numbers of those who have made the supreme sacrifice
while doing so.

Regardless of whether one still believes this conflict to be a
righteous and noble cause, a catastrophic blunder, a hopeless quagmire, or
anything in between, I think all of us can agree that war, reduced to its
bare essence, is composed of thousands of individual tragedies, each of
which has a multiplier effect. Specialist Armijo is now dead, even
though his life had only barely begun. His family and friends must now cope
with his loss and get on with their own lives as best they can. The
same is true of the other three soldiers killed along with him, and their
families and friends. And lest any of us forget, it is equally true of
the dozens of innocent Iraqis -- men, women, and children alike --
killed that same day in random attacks and bombings throughout the country.
Meanwhile, the violence and killing only seem to generate more of the
same, and war in general is perhaps the most tragic manifestation of the
flaws inherent in human nature. But unfortunately for all of us!
, as Plato, the wisest of all ancient philosophers, observed, "Only
the dead have seen the end of war."

Other Tributes
Spc. Raymond S. Armijo
United States Army
KIA October 2, 2006, Iraq
Raymond S. Armijo, who was known as "Bear," had a tattoo on his forearm. On one side it said, "The
choices we make." On the other side, it said "are the people we become." "He became a hero to us
because of the choices he made," said his aunt, Michelle Mancilla. Armijo, 22, of Phoenix, was killed
Oct. 2 in Taji from a roadside bomb. He was assigned to Fort Hood. "My son planned to come back and
get married, then get a job with the FBI, working SWAT," Tina Armijo said. "And he wanted to buy a
truck. He really wanted a truck. He was happy, funny, and always looking to the future." Armijo, who
moved with his mother to Phoenix at age 4, loved trying new foods, listening to all kinds of music and
unabashedly singing along. He had aspirations of someday joining the FBI. Standing more than 6 feet
tall and known for his megawatt smile, Armijo was seen as the "gentle giant" of the family. "He was the
type of guy that was the middle man," said Mancilla. "He never had anything bad to say about people.
He got along with everyone." Armijo was engaged to fiancee Genavieve Gloria. "They decided to bury
him with his wedding ring," said Louie Olivas, Armijo's uncle. He also is survived by his father,