|I want to encourage you to please take a moment to read slowly through the names below. In July, these men and women were part of intact, happy families, on a particular mission, performing a job they all loved. |
Pfc3 Anthony C. Garcia - LCpl James D. Argentine - LCpl Travis T. Babine - Cpl Christian A. Guzman Rivera - Sgt Jay M. Hoskins - Captian Matthew C. Freeman - SSgt Tara J. Smith - Spc Matthew K.S. Swanson - Sgt Jerry R. Evans Jr - LCpl Dennis J. Burrow - LCpl Javier Olvera - LCpl Patrick W. Schimmel - Spc Richard A. Walters Kuwait - LCpl Bruce Ferrell - Captain John Tinsley - Sgt William J. Cahir - LCpl Joshua M. Bernard - Cpl Nicholas R. Roush - Sgt 1st Class William B. Woods Jr - LCpl Leopold F. Damas - Gunnery Sgt Adam F. Benjamin - Spc William Z. Van Osdol - Spc Matthew D. Hastings - Spc Paul E. Dumont Jr - SSgt Clayton P. Bowen - PFC Morris L. Walker - 1st Sgt Jose S.N. Crisostomo - Pfc Brian M. Wolverton - Spc Justin R. Pellerin - Sgt Matthew L. Ingram - Spc Troy O. Tom - Pfc Jonathan C. Yanney - SSgt Andrew T. Lobosco - 2nd Lt Joseph D. Fortin - Cpl Darby T. Morin - LCpl Donald J. Hogan - Capt John L. Hallett III - Capt Cory J. Jenkins - Sgt 1st Class Ronald W. Sawyer - Spc Dennis M. Williams - Pfc Matthew E. Wildes - SSgt Kurt R. Curtiss - Sgt Earl D. Werner - Pvt Taylor D. Marks - Spc Abraham S. Wheeler III - SSgt Jason S. Dahlke - Pfc Eric W. Hario.
You may not recognize these names. They may not mean anything to you personally, but they are the military heroes who gave their lives in August 2009, so that America and other nations may live in freedom.
In the last 30 days, every family of these brave warriors heard a knock on the door and the words "We regret to inform you ..." Forty-seven blue stars in an instant tragically became gold. The effect on these families is now rippling throughout their worlds with waves of devastation, untold pain and unanswered questions. It is a time they may have imagined could happen, but one they could never have prepared for.
In a moment their lives were changed forever. In the months and years to come, they will begin to pick up the pieces, to heal as best they can. But there will never be words that will make a difference, never be a cure for that hole in their hearts. There will be only forced acceptance and the repetitive thought that life can sometimes be too interminably long.
You may not know who these men and women were, but they are more than mere statistics on a report. Forty-seven heroes with mothers and fathers, grandparents, wives, children, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, friends, co-workers, schoolmates, neighbors and fellow citizens ... and their comrades in arms who were with them when they died. These 47 lives have now touched thousands in death. Sadly, not once do I recall hearing the name of a fallen hero mentioned nationally last month. I hope that you did.