Tuesday, October 14, 2008


DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Cpl. Reuben M. Fernandez III, 22, of Abilene, Texas, died on Oct. 11 of wounds sustained when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in Majar Al Kabir, Iraq. He was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team...

10/14/08 MNF:
MND-B Soldier dies of wounds from SAF attack
A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier died of wounds at approximately 5 p.m. at a Coalition force's Combat Support Hospital Oct. 14. The Soldier was wounded when enemy attacked his patrol with small-arms fire in western Baghdad...

10/13/08 MNF:
MND-B Soldier dies of non-battle related causes
A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died of non-battle related causes at approximately 5:50 a.m. Oct 12 in Baghdad. The Soldier’s name is being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin and release by the U.S. Department of Defense.


It was as I rounded the corner in the WWII Museum to where one sees the rows of crosses in the military cemeteries of Normandy that I managed to say "Thank you for serving" to a young man in uniform. I could hardly speak but I try never to walk past or near our troops without saying thank you.

Yes, I am opposed to war in general and to the Iraq War, among others, quite specifically. I protested the Vietnam War (quietly wearing an armband the day I graduated from college - speaking up when I dared - getting my bumper stickers scraped anonymously from my car). But that does not mean I don't think we need a national defense or that I do not appreciate and honor the commitment and sacrifice of those who serve in this manner. The world is simultaneously glorious and dangerous. I try not to live in constant fear but I do not pretend the world is safe. I have sense of what the young man I spoke to risks and the fears his young wife must face every moment he is away. Only a sense. I have never been there. And I am keenly aware of the stakes. He risks his life for me and I had just walked through a barrage of photos and mementos illustrating what that means, and how many lose their lives.

I believe every life matters. I mourn all the victims of war on every side. I grieve over those turned from fear, poverty, ignorance, and manipulation into hatred and violence. I don't excuse evil acts; I sorrow over them.

By reckoning the toll on our military (in lives lost, not even counting injuries and abiding loss in emotional health and long-term impact on health, families, and the effects of PTSD) I seek to mourn, to remember, to honor sacrifice, and recognize the true costs of war - no matter how or why it begins. Yes, I do so with a political edge, but the point of these memorials is not to attack Bush but to thank our men and women for what is aptly called "the ultimate sacrifice." I try to include names when I have them because no one - no one - is ever simply a number. I want to pay attention. These posts are a way I try to do that.

May they rest in peace and rise in glory.

May we all learn a better way to share the planet than war.

May God have mercy on us all.
--the BB

1 comment:

Lindy said...

Amen, Brother Paul. Amen.