By Ellen Thompson/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
Sara Rachelle Big Knife was recovering from a period of illness and headed toward a bright future when her life was cut short by a fatal car crash Friday, family and friends said today.
"I keep thinking she's hiding. I have to get with it," her grandmother and adoptive mother, Roberta Big Knife, said from her home today.
"All the people here have helped me," she said. "I have all my children. When you have grandchildren, native people seem to think even more of their grandchildren."
Sara Big Knife, 19, of Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation died about 1:15 p.m. Friday in a single-car rollover when she was ejected from the vehicle. Passenger Max Gobaldon, 18, of New York, suffered no major injuries.
The vehicle went off Duck Creek Road after entering a curve, the Montana Highway Patrol said. Speed may have contributed to the accident, the patrol said. Neither occupant was wearing a seat belt.
Big Knife had received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army in May after a prolonged illness. She returned home with Gobaldon, whom she referred to as her mate, Roberta Big Knife said.
"He's been taking it hard," Sara's uncle, Shawn Big Knife, said.
Big Knife and Gobaldon were both attending Montana State University-Northern. The commute put a lot of stress on their vehicle, Shawn Big Knife said.
"They were on their way to Billings. Their vehicle wasn't running well and they wanted to get a new one. They were trying to upgrade their young lives. It's very sad," Shawn Big Knife said.
"I raised my granddaughter. I had her since she was 3. She was doing good," Roberta Big Knife said.
After high school, Sara joined the Army.
"She went from Missouri to New York and then she became sick. ... She had a hard time dealing with that. But she met four years ago, it wasn't perfect either,'' he said.
The goal in Iraq is to have successful voting in the ''vast majority of the country,'' said Abizaid, who leads the U.S. Central Command.
''We're going to have to fight our way all the way through elections,'' he said, ''and there'll be a lot of violence between now and then.''
Abizaid spoke of a major offensive before the election, with U.S. and Iraqi forces doing ''whatever's necessary to bring areas in Iraq under Iraqi control.''
Powell offered a road map to the coming offensive. He said the military likely will tackle the Sunni Triangle cities of Ramadi and Samarra before attempting to restore order in nearby Fallujah, which he called ''the tough one.''
''We don't like the situation in Fallujah,'' Powell said on CNN's ''Late Edition.''
''The other ones, I think, are more manageable,'' he added. ''Ramadi and Samarra, I think we'll get those back under control, and then we'll have to deal with Fallujah.''
Powell said planning is under way for an Iraqi conference, possibly next month in Jordan or Egypt, of the world's leading industrialized nations and regional powers, including Iran and Syria.
''This was a way to reach out to Iraq's immediate neighbors and persuade them that this is the time to help Iraq, so that the region can become stable,'' he said.
Including the Group of Eight economic powers, Powell said, ''adds a little bit more oomph to the conference'' and brings in nations that could contribute ''more in the way of resources.''