Watching a Sunday morning “news” show come to its conclusion with a listing of American troops that died in Afghanistan last week brought this memory to my mind.
There is a local anti-war group, Tri City Action for Peace (TCAP), this group gathers on a busy intersection on the first Friday of the month holding signs promoting peace and anti-war sentiments.
This group also stages an annual demonstration where they implant crosses in the ground with the name, rank, age and home community of all the Michigan military that have died as a result of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
This is a touching ceremony, individuals are handed a cross from the storage box, read out loud the name, rank, age and home community of the deceased, a single drumbeat is given and the cross is placed in the ground.
After all the crosses are neatly placed in rows, the group takes a slow, silent walk through the crosses.
As I walked, I read the names, ages and home of the deceased silently. This was enough to create a mental image of the person behind the name….
I would imagine some enjoying a fishing trip with their buddies, others I imagined arriving home from their tour to be greeted by family and friends and of course the large Golden Lab jumping up and almost knocking down the hardened soldier. These things could only be imagined, they will NEVER take place again in real life for these victims.
*“Joe Smith… PFC U.S. Marines 19 years old, Munising.”
Think about it for a minute or two.
Here is a young man that will NEVER know the joy of seeing his first born graduate high school.
Here is a young man that may NEVER even know the joy of seeing his first born.
Here is a young man that will NEVER again see the smile on his parents faces as he achieves yet another goal in life.
Here is a young man that will NEVER have the opportunity to go to a big league baseball game.
Here is a young man that will NEVER enjoy grilling a steak while drinking a cold beer.
I could go on but, you get the message.
NEVER is such a long long time.
So my friends, close your eyes and go on this silent walk with me. Read the names and put a face, a moment in the life of a real person, behind each and every name. Think about all the small things we all take for granted as just being part of everyday living.
And then think of all the small things these unfortunate souls will NEVER be able to enjoy.
*A pseudo name for all the real troops that have left us forever.