Kim's soft Texas drawl snags in her throat as she remembers catching sight of the 2-year-old child of war with her family. The girl's dark eyes had locked on Kim. "She was just petrified," Kim says. "She was crying, but there was no sound, just tears flowing out of her eyes. She was shaking. I have no idea what had happened in her little life. All I know is I wasn't seeing her; I was seeing my own little girl. I could imagine my daughter being one of those kids throwing rocks at soldiers, because maybe someone she loved had been killed. That Iraqi girl haunts my soul."
And she changed Kim's life. The nameless child suddenly represented everything that felt wrong about being in uniform, about being in Iraq, for the 26-year-old former Wal-Mart clerk who had joined the military out of economic hardship, hoping to build a better future. Kim had two children and a husband waiting for her back home in Mesquite, TX.