Tuesday, January 12, 2010


There is a sobering website I go to frequently: http://icasualties.org/oef/.

The nightly news is often full of one of our nation’s wars: members of congress refusing to work as partisans, instead fully engaged in proving that the advancement of their political party is far more important than the good of the country. It seems from watching some congressmen that destruction of the other party - even if it means destruction of our country - is the most important goal.

The news of the other war, the one where people get killed, is sporadic. I give the news agencies credit: they try to feature it. But if you don’t have a loved one over there, people lose interest.

So when we haven’t heard from Zach recently - which means something has happened to a soldier - I go to the icasualties.org, Operation Enduring Freedom (read: Afghanistan), which offers dates, names, hometowns, marine bases, and where they were stationed.

The silence from our son is because of these young men:

The Department of Defense announced today the death of Marines supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Meinert, 20, of Fort Atkinson, Wis., died Jan. 10 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

Lance Cpl. Mark A Juarez, 22, of Bakersfield, Calif, died Jan 9 while supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

Sgt. 1st Class Jason O. B. Hickman, 35, of Kingsport, Tenn., died Jan. 7 at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered earlier that day at Combat Outpost Bowri Tana, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device and small arms fire. He was assigned to Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

And a young Danish man, Constable Simon Sejer Hoffman. You can see his face and honor him by reading this page, which Google will translate roughly for your (click Translate, upper right corner): http://forsvaret.dk/HOK/Nyt%20og%20Presse/ISAF/Pages/simonhoffmann.aspx

Today, the soldiers of their units will need to grieve - but they will also need to work and they will need to laugh. They will need to eat and take care of their bodies and reassure those at home and be fully alert in their jobs. They will need to work with partners and leaders who may be great friends or irritate them. They may need to put their very lives in the trust of soldiers who have radically different political and religious beliefs than they hold.

They may need to face and work with and talk to Afghan people who may know who placed the bombs that killed their friends, or who may be innocent and hate the violence, and they will not know on which side those people stand.

And they will do their jobs. Having received Marine training, they will do so with more respect, more restraint, more responsibility, and far less interest in self than some of our most outspoken members of congress.

We choose daily in life who we will emulate, what we will be, what we will build. Our words, our thoughts, our many small actions daily are the bricks with which we create our life.

None of us is perfect. But daily, let us do our very best to choose wisely the legacy of our lives to our children and our communities.

Thanks for checking in,


  1. Thank you for sharing. My son was in Irag but has gotten out of the Marines. He was at Camp Lejune North Carolina. He has wounds that can't be seen but is doing very well. I will pray for your family. It is a very hard thing these men and women are doing for us here at home.You are right about the news...if you don't have a family memeber or loved one over there the interest isn't great. God Bless and be safe.

  2. As Alice of Wobegone Cottage said, you are right about the news, and to tell you the truth, I am so disgusted with ALL the politicians who make very large sums of money in Washington D.C. for little but squabbles and "deals' made at the expense of the very people who elected them to represent us for the betterment of our country, but even worse, seem perfectly content to send our precious men and women, sons and daughters, off to war and possible harm or death and STILL squabble about even these decisions in public, world wide to the detriment of morale , all to further their own party. Shame on them, there are eternal consequences for such people, and prayers for the men and women serving our military. A person of good character is a testament to all that is good and lives long after that person has gone onto eternity.I hope your son is having a good day in Afghanistan and that every dabrings him closer to coming home to hug you!