web counter Media Lies: Life, death and the pain of the living

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

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Life, death and the pain of the living

Kitkat, one of my regular readers, is feeling the pain of loss, mourning for the dead in Mosul and, as all of us do at times like this, reliving the pains of losses in our own lives.

Another of my regular readers, Bill, a Marine who served in Vietnam, posts the death toll of the war on terror in the comment section every week. (Another friend, also a Marine in Vietnam, posts the death toll on his web page.) I sometimes find myself irritated by this, because I don't want to think about the loss. But each man or woman who dies in battle deserves our deepest respect and demands our closest attention to what our government does. Because, as all three of these friends (I hope I can call both Bill and Kitkat friends) point out, freedom is not free and men and woman are dying for us every day.

Too damn many Americans have died in too damn many lonely, god forsaken places in this world. My cousin, Donald, died in Vietnam, and I carried his coffin four days before I entered boot camp. I still cry every time I think of him.

No matter how much it hurts, we should remember every one of them and honor their sacrifice by diligently guarding our democracy. Vote. Serve on juries. Prod your friends and neighbors to care about this country and about our government. Teach your children what it means to be American and why our countrymen's blood has been spilled in foreign lands.

American Military Killed in Action in Iraq
Since the war began: 1320
Yesterday: 14