Relatives of American War Dead Find Purpose in Kuwait Visit
KUWAIT (AP) _ Some relatives of American troops killed in the Gulf War said Monday they had discovered meaning behind their losses as they began a weeklong visit to Kuwait.
″Instead of wondering, ‘Why? Why?’ we can now see the reason. We can picture faces,″ said Suzanna Galvan, 31, of Navarre, Fla., one of 193 Americans on the tour.
She lost her husband, Capt. Arthur Galvan, when his plane was shot down over Saudi Arabia on Jan. 31, 1991. She said Americans, including some who lost relatives, had not grasped the pain Kuwaitis suffered.
″What we saw on TV during the war was like a movie,″ she said.
The visit, dubbed Desert Peace, was organized by more than 30 Kuwaiti and American companies and organizations in cooperation with the two governments. All expenses were paid.
The relatives arrived Sunday night after a 14-hour flight from New York. Their visit follows a tremendous welcome Kuwaitis gave to former President Bush, who is considered a war hero here.
Bush led the coalition in 1991 that expelled Iraqi troops from the oil-rich kingdom after a seven-month occupation. Some 96 U.S. troops died in the brief campaign.
Darmel Hudson of Austin, Texas, whose son, Marty Davis, was killed Feb. 25, 1991, in southern Iraq, said she expected ″camels, sand and mud huts.″
″I feel better putting some touch of reality,″ she said after touring a photo exhibit opened by Kuwaiti Information Minister Sheikh Saud al-Sabah. The exhibit catalogued Kuwait before and during the Iraqi occupation.
Nan Grimm, 27, of Layton, Utah, whose husband, Capt. William Grimm, died on the same plane as Galvan, said she was touched by the Kuwaitis’ gratitude.
″I was not prepared for this constant outpouring of feelings,″ she said.
Sheik Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, the crown prince and prime minister, paid the air fares and hotel bills for the visitors, whose ages range from 6 to 74, said Pam Hall, a member of the American Women’s League in Kuwait and a chief organizer.
The families will attend a memorial service Tuesday.
They will also meet the crown prince, attend dinners - some in Kuwaiti homes - and take a daytrip to a summer resort destroyed by Iraqis but recently reopened.