First and foremost, I thank the soldiers and families with whom I worked
at Walter Reed. Not only did they allow—even encourage—me to be with
them in a profoundly precarious moment, but they insisted on, and per-
sisted in, the ordinariness of their lives. In doing this, often with a clarity
and poetry that took me by surprise, they showed me how to pull at the
thread of the extra/ordinary. I have done my best to work that thread with
care and can only hope they recognize their extra/ordinary selves in this
Many thanks to the others at Walter Reed who eased my entry there
and to everyone at lrmc who welcomed me to my first taste of the field
and were so instrumental in getting me to my next one. I’m very grateful to
Scott Ewing, Geoff Millard, Jose Vasquez, and other members of ivaw for
their assistance and friendship during my time in D.C. Though the obsta-
cles proved insurmountable, I do not take lightly the efforts of those who
helped me at Ft. Dix, including Francis Booth, Chaplain Heisterman, and
especially Denise Horton. And though they do not appear here, I thank the
9/11 first responders and survivors who shared their often painful stories
with me.
My fieldwork was generously supported by a Dissertation Research Grant
from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and I have
also received support from the Vonda McCrae Clarke Memorial / Ontario
Graduate Scholarship in Anthropology, pilot research and numerous travel
awards from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto,
and the Ethnographic Writing Fellowship at the Centre for Ethnography,
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