Friday, November 11, 2011
Faces of the Fallen
Appropriately today, the Washington Post included its regularly published Faces of the Fallen feature, the photographs of service members who've made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan and Iraq. Today there are only 99 photographs, at times over the past ten years, there have been many more. Most news of the war moved off the front page as early as 2002, now it's usually in the back half of the A section, which is where this feature can be found today.
Today the section is dominated by 30 people who died when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. There are no women on the list today, although there often were in the past, but the faces of America are here, Latin American, African American, Asian American, Native American, and those whose ancestors came here from Europe. The youngest was a teenager, and the oldest was 50. They hailed from all regions of the United States.
Causes of death - most were combat related; there is at least one heart attack; and there is one that portends another great tragedy of this conflict: found dead in his room...suicide has plagued this generation of veterans, as it has those of previous conflicts.
I cannot pass over this section without pausing to read about each of these veterans and to think of their families. These will not have the opportunity to come home to the quiet and peaceful life we all desire.
And to the others who have served and continue to serve, thank you.