I sit in one of the dives on 44th Street, uncertain how to approach Sue Niederer and Celeste Zappala, afraid that their stories can be too easily turned into tears, their message lost after the Veterans’ Day march. They were put at the back of the New York parade, humiliated, with their little crowd of anti-war veterans and their memories of boys who left young wives for Iraq and came back in coffins.
Later I sit between the two women and remember the blood splashed across the road at Khan Dari and the 82nd Airborne washing away the brains from the highway in central Fallujah and the body lying beneath a tarp in north Baghdad. I’ve seen the American corpses. Now here are the American mothers.
Sue lost her son Seth on 3 February last year. He was looking for "improvised explosive devices" near Iskanderiya, south of Baghdad - the infamous IEDs, roadside bombs which have taken hundreds of American lives - when a booby trap blew up next to him.